National Turkey Federation Chairman Carl Wittenburg on November 22 presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named “Drumstick” to President Donald J. Trump during a White House ceremony celebrating the 70th anniversary of the event that has occurred since 1947.
“As we gather together with our families on Thanksgiving and give thanks for our many blessings, we are reminded of the national family to which we all belong as citizens of this incredible country,” said Trump. “This Thursday, as we give thanks for our cherished loved ones, let us also renew our bonds of trust, loyalty and affection between our fellow citizens as members of a proud national family of Americans.”
“It is an honor to be invited to the White House, to meet President Trump, and to be a part of the National Turkey Federation’s 70-year tradition of this presentation to the President,” said Wittenburg. “It’s in that spirit, at the time of Thanksgiving that we reflect on our nation’s many blessings and celebrate the opening of the holiday season.”
Wittenburg is president and founder of Protein Alliance, Inc. and a second-generation turkey farmer from Wyndmere, North Dakota. The chairman’s wife Sharlene, who is a third-generation turkey farmer, and their oldest and youngest sons, Nate and Wyatt also attended the annual Thanksgiving presentation.
The turkeys were raised with the involvement of 4-H members from Douglas County, Minnesota: Kodi Bundermann, Kayla Egenes, Katie Kent, Christina Kuismi, and Kerryn Lund under the supervision of the Wittenburgs. The names for the birds were suggested by school children through the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.
Jaindl’s Turkey Farm of Orefield, Pennsylania, provided the president’s family with two dressed turkeys as part of the First Family’s food donations to Martha’s Table in Washington, D.C.
The two turkeys arrived in Washington, D.C. and stayed at the Willard InterContinental, adjacent to the White House grounds.
The permanent home for “Drumstick” and alternate “Wishbone” will be “Gobbler’s Rest,” on the campus of Virginia Tech in a custom-built enclosure inside the Poultry Science Department’s Livestock Judging Pavilion. The National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will be available for the public to visit and learn about the university’s teaching, research, and outreach programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine. They join last year’s turkeys, “Tater” and “Tot.”