The residents of Belle River mourn the loss of a well-known figure in their community, Tommy the Turkey.
Tommy, also known as the Belle River traffic mascot, was hit by a car on Notre Dame Street Thursday.
After reading the tragic incident on Facebook, Lorri Horton, a Belle River resident, created a memorial and buried Tommy in his backyard.
âThey said he was lying there and no one was available to pick him up,â Horton said. “I just wrote: ‘I’m on my way.'”
Horton and his son spent the day digging and creating a pleasant memorial for Tommy.
“He can’t just be eliminated. He was a citizen here. It was his Belle River, let’s face it,” said Horton.
Tommy the turkey has become well known in the community for appearing in traffic, often stopping cars.
He became an instant sensation in March of this year, when Robb Meloche used a drone to film him in the middle of traffic.
“I heard everyone honking in front of my house. I knew immediately what was going on”, Meloche.
He quickly grabbed his drone and started filming the scene with the turkey in the middle of traffic.
âI named him Tommy the turkey,â he said.
“Gave some life to the city”
Tommy quickly became a public figure for residents and others through a social media page called ‘Tommy the Turkeys Spotters.’
Sarah Hoster, a resident outside of Belle River, remembers having to stop for Tommy in the middle of the road as she drove to the grocery store.
âPeople really liked him. I saw him crossing the road or sitting in the middle of the road, which made the crossing difficult for people. I think he definitely brought some life, I guess, to town, âHoster said.
Giovanni Butera remembered Tommy for his traffic stops.
âPersonally, I appreciated Tommy’s service to the community. In an effort to help calm traffic in our small subdivision, we actually incorporate the image of Tommy on a t-shirt with a sign. ‘stop, to educate drivers to slow down in our community, “Butera said.
To keep Tommy’s memory alive, Horton offered neighbors and residents a chance to pay their respects at the memorial.
âIt’s tragic. You fall in love with this character, this Belle River mascot and you don’t want it to be over,â Meloche said.
“I hope his legacy will continue.”