A turkey with so much human support he had his own Facebook page has passed away during his trot north.
Last week, we reported about a number of people in the community tracking the progress of, as local resident Bruce Lutgen called it, The Traveling Turkey. Local folks reported seeing the turkey, at one time with his apparent mate, along Highway 71, from about Gemmell to Papermaker’s Colony area, just west of the International Falls city limits.
Come to find out, the turkey had a name, and it’s proclaimed proudly on his Facebook page, “GERALD The Traveling Turkey,” which has 608 members.
But the end of the road came to Gerald, too soon, some posts suggested.
Carlie Hell & Madison Truty April 5 posted: On behalf of Madison I am writing to tell you that she was informed that Gerald has unfortunately been hit and has passed away. Thank you for all being so active and being invested in him. He was more famous than he would ever know! Rest easy Gerald! “
Also that day, Brenda Crow posted: Went out and collected Gerald’s body off the side of the road this evening, brought him home with us and had a proper burial for him. I can’t believe that one bird brought so many smiles and so much excitement in people’s life’s. He came along way, now he can rest. RIP...Gerald.”
Jack Potts fondling recalled his sightings:
“This was my first video of Gerald on March 10th south of Margie, I was so excited to see him, He was the first turkey I’ve ever seen on the highway north of Bemidji , We pulled over and watched him for about 15 minutes, Never would I have guessed that I was going to take hundreds of pictures of this turkey and so many videos as it had a journey near our homes. hope he is spending his forever in a beautiful place with his mate. R.I.P. “
During Gerald’s journey, he seemed to touch many local folks in a way most may not have anticipated. Prior to his demise, some indicated he filled a need for relief from other stresses of the everyday world.
Shelly Miller Johnson posted: “I think it’s pretty awesome that in the middle of so much negativity, a turkey named Gerald has brought smiles to our faces and there is happy talk for the first time in many months. Way to go, Gerald! Keep on trucking!!”
Meanwhile, more about Gerald’s background has been revealed on the page: We hear... that Gerald was released in the Gemmell area with his turkey companions. Unsure why, but Gerald decided to head north on HWY 71 instead of sticking with his friends who headed south. Last spotted west of I Falls turning on to the truck route (3/31 about 2:45 pm).”
Many seemed to enjoy this turkey’s adventure, and are saddened by the end of his trek: “Who knew a turkey could give so many people the happiness he has given. Sure am going to miss him. I was planning on trying to find him Thursday when I had my next day off,” posted Sarah Morin.
There is hope, Sarah. The turkey saga continues with the following post this morning by Daisy Aili:
“Look out for Gerald’s cousin heading to Littlefork! He’s halfway from 217 and Littlefork! Also travels along side of the road!”
“How about ‘Hank’ for this one?” suggested Irene Westerberg Hauner.