Clinton teen donates turkeys to Salvation Army in memory of grandmother

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Ashley McCallum
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

JANESVILLE—When Colin Tracy talks turkey, he does so humbly.

The 13-year-old Clinton Middle School student has raised turkeys to show at the Rock County 4-H Fair the last three years.

But only one turkey can be sold at the fair, which leaves Colin with birds to spare.

After keeping some for family members and friends, Colin donates his remaining turkeys to the Salvation Army in Janesville for its annual Thanksgiving dinner.

Maj. Ruth Fay of the Salvation Army estimates the three turkeys Colin donated this year will serve 60 to 70 people this Thanksgiving. Fay said his generosity is “inspirational.”

How does Colin feel about giving back?

“Good,” Colin said, humbly.

Colin was inspired by his grandmother and his Cub Scout leader to give back to his community, he said.

Colin’s grandmother, Judith Tracy, was a long-time supporter of the 4-H poultry project, said Mindy Tracy, Colin’s mother.

Judith had cancer and was sick the first year Colin entered his turkeys, Mindy said. She died that fall.

Colin chose to donate his turkeys after the fair and did so in memory of Judith, Mindy said.

The idea to donate to the Salvation Army came from watching Colin’s Cub Scout leader Jon Gordon give back to his community, Colin said.

Gordon, a chef, volunteers to coordinate the kitchen for the Salvation Army’s dinner and has done so the last seven years, Fay said.

The Tracy family owns Tracy Seeds in Janesville and operates Tracy and Sons Farms, a 2,400-acre grain farm, Mindy said.

Colin intends to raise turkeys and donating them until he is too old to show at the fair, he said.

Salvation Army dinner

Fay hopes the Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinner can help make Rock County the “kindest county in the country,” she said.

“This is my family Thanksgiving dinner,” Fay said. “We feel this is our family and friends that have gathered to be part of it.”

Attendance has increased at the dinner in recent years, Fay said. About 500 people are expected to receive a meal, whether it is at the dinner or from the organization’s delivery service.

The Salvation Army has ran out of turkeys the last two years, Fay said. They took in 14 additional turkeys this year, 38 total, to accommodate the community.

Anyone in the area is welcome to attend the dinner, Fay said.

At the Salvation Army family services building, 514 Sutherland Ave., the phone was ringing almost non-stop Tuesday with people hoping to volunteer.

Volunteer Lois Carlson was in the kitchen preparing food to go into the oven. She said she volunteers because it gives her moments of “pure joy."

As a single mother, Carlson raised her family with little money and reached out to the organization for help, she said. She found God’s glory while volunteering.

Carlson plans to stop by the dinner Thursday, she said. She doesn’t want people to think of her as just a volunteer, but as another one of God’s children.

“It shouldn’t just be Thanksgiving; we should be kind all the time,” Fay said. “People can be nice, but to be kind is a step above.”

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