Following the aroma outside revealed a white tent with 22 bubbling pots, each containing a seasoned bird. This is the eighth year the Sheriff’s Office has held a free turkey fry as a way to give back to the community.
“Last year we fried 253 turkeys and we were worn out,” Chief Deputy Matthew Wade said.
Each year the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association donates 60 turkeys and Wade donates 10 more to be fried and given to the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home and 2nd Chance women’s shelter.
Wade said he started this endeavor as a way for deputies to get together and share their Thanksgiving spirit. Wade has expanded from two fryers to 22 and enjoys feeding the people of Calhoun County.
“It’s a nice thing to do for people … We want everyone to know that we’re a part of the community too,” Wade said. “It’s not much; it’s more a gesture than anything. We want them to know we appreciate what they do.”
The chief deputy said it has also become common practice for people who want to have a turkey fried to bring another to donate. Wade said if he had a long-term goal for his project it would be for everyone to do that so even more could be gifted.
The turkeys are tagged with the owner’s name and the bird’s weight before they are injected with Cajun-seasoned butter and then coated in more Cajun seasoning. Chad Christopher, a jail inmate, was responsible for prepping the turkeys for the fryer. He said he was happy to help out and was able to enjoy some turkey the night before when the jail hosted its own Thanksgiving dinner. Christopher said this was a way for him to get in the holiday spirit while being away from family.
The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association spent nearly $2,000, raised by the deputies, on peanut oil, turkeys and seasonings for the event. Wade said the group has had businesses donate money and supplies in the past.
He said he wishes he could cook for everyone in the county, but it’s not possible. He’s considering a drawing or list of names next year to avoid an overwhelming amount of poultry.
Star Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.