“I think as firefighters, it’s in our nature. We’re here to help the community,” Howieson said in the parking lot of Jewel Osco, 1320 Sycamore Road, as firefighters loaded the birds into a pickup truck.
The donation was part of “Let’s Talk Turkey,” a holiday tradition for WLBK, 98.9 FM and 1360 AM, whose host, TD Ryan, broadcasted from The Salvation Army from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The DeKalb firefighters’ union has been participating since the 1990s, said Howieson, the union president who has been with the department 18 years.
“These firefighters are great customers of ours,” said DeKalb Jewel Osco store director Noreen Santelli, who’s been with the company 38 years and in DeKalb for a year and a half. “I think it’s wonderful to raise money for meals for The Salvation Army. Those meals get put right back into the community.”
Santelli said the 1,000 pounds of turkeys were bought by the firefighters’ union at a flat rate to enable large-scale donations. A group of 20 firefighters formed an assembly line and loaded up the birds. Howieson said there never is a shortage of guys who want to spend their off-duty time giving back.