James Brown turkey giveaway honors late entertainer

Hundreds stood in line Monday, braving the chill at Dyess Park, and hoping for help from the annual James Brown Turkey Giveaway.

 

Hundreds left happy.

Among them was Elmore Sanders, a Korean War veteran, who said he grew up as a friend of the late "Godfather of Soul," and carried a photo in his wallet to prove it. He said it was worth waiting for the free turkey.

Ronald Corley, a disabled Vietnam veteran, said he had good reason to attend the giveaway.

"My house burned down ... I lost everything," he said. "Right now I've just got to do what I can."

Monday's event was the second since the late Mr. Brown passed away Christmas Day 2006. His longtime friend, the Rev. Al Sharpton, was again on hand to help with the turkey distribution, leading those present in prayer, while speaking on the importance Mr. Brown placed on his community.

With the current economic downturn, many people came to the turkey giveaway for the first time.

Clarether K. Shearin said that she had children to worry about feeding, and a turkey would go a long way to help.

"I've got a house full of kids. I'm disabled, and it takes a lot to feed my young'uns," she said.

Ms. Shearin said that even though James Brown had passed on, his legacy would continue through the turkey giveaway.

"I knew James Brown as a kid growing up," she said. "This is something that he wanted to do. It's a blessing."

As of 11 a.m., more than 600 turkeys had been delivered to the park to be given away, with more on the way.

Reach Jonathan Overstreet at (706) 823-3708 or jonathan.overstreet@augustachronicle.com.

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