MONTGOMERY – Governor Bob Riley officially pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey named Clyde on Tuesday as part of an annual tradition in Alabama that dates back to 1949.
Bill Bates of Bates House of Turkey in Greenville provided the turkey that was pardoned at this year's event held at the Governor's Mansion.
"Our founding fathers were individuals of great faith and courage and set aside this time of Thanksgiving for us to thank God for his presence in our life," Governor Riley said. "Thanksgiving is a time for Alabamians to come together, pause and reflect on all the ways God has blessed us."
Governor Riley was also joined by First Lady Patsy Riley who collected blankets for her "Blankets with a Blessing" program.
In 2004, First Lady Patsy Riley started an effort to collect and distribute blankets with an attached blessing and Bible verse to the needy in Alabama's homeless shelters. "Blankets with a Blessing" has collected and distributed thousands of blankets to women's and homeless shelters across Alabama. In recent years, First Lady Patsy Riley has used the turkey pardoning to promote "Blankets with a Blessing." 2010 marks the seventh year the First Lady has led the project. Students from Dalraida Elementary School in Montgomery, Riverchase Day School in Hoover, and Edgewood Elementary in Homewood joined Mrs. Riley at the event and brought blankets to donate to the less fortunate this holiday season.
"During this Thanksgiving season, it is important to think of those less fortunate," Mrs. Riley said. "Alabamians have always been mindful of those who are less fortunate. Helping others is one of the best ways we have of giving thanks."