Governor issues clemency for turkeys from Manson

Birds raised by teen get traditional pardon

-Submitted photo
Freedom and Flourish, two turkeys from the Moline farm near Manson, escaped becoming Thanksgiving dinner thanks to a pardon issued Monday by Gov. Kim Reynolds. The turkeys were raised by 15-year-old Ava Moline

MANSON — A pair of former Manson area residents were pardoned by Gov. Kim Reynolds Monday.

However, they were not crooks. In fact, they are not even people.

The recipients of the governor’s leniency Monday were a pair of turkeys named Freedom and Flourish who grew up on the Moline farm near Manson. They were raised by Ava Moline, 15.

The president and governors of many states have been pardoning turkeys just before Thanksgiving for decades.In Iowa, the tradition is that the birds to be pardoned come from the president of the Iowa Turkey Federation. The current president is Brad Moline, who is Ava Moline’s father.

Brad Moline decided that the turkeys should come from his daughter’s flock.

Ava Moline has been raising her own turkeys for about six years. She started with 300 birds. This year she had her own barn filled with 2,000 birds.

She said she was happy that two of her birds would get the ceremonial pardon.

“I was pretty excited that two of them would get to survive and I would get to go to Terrace Hill,” she said.

She said she was going to pick the best-looking tom and hen to be pardoned. She recalled that she went out to her barn and found the two who would eventually be named Freedom and Flourish standing near the front of the building.

“They walked up to me,” she said.

She said Reynolds picked the names Freedom and Flourish.

On Monday morning the Molines and the two turkeys traveled to Terrace Hill, the governor’s mansion in Des Moines. The turkeys were unloaded onto the lawn.

“They just roamed around for awhile,” Ava Moline said.

Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and representatives of the Iowa Turkey Federation were on hand for the pardoning ceremony.

“This wonderful tradition is a time to pause and be thankful for friends, family, and Iowa’s farmers,” Reynolds said in a written statement.

“Iowa’s turkey producers’ dedication and hard work provide millions of families the ability to celebrate Thanksgiving with a healthy serving of Iowa poultry,” she added. “Today’s ceremony celebrates Iowa’s turkey producers, especially the Moline family, fifth generation turkey farmers, with an amazing legacy that will continue for generations to come.”

Freedom and Flourish will now live on a farm in southwest Iowa.

Ava Moline will begin raising a new flock of turkeys next July after receiving newly hatched birds.


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