by Luke Thomas
Anyone who has been at Strong through a Thanksgiving season has heard of Toyota of Boerne’s famous Turkeys for Troops event. It’s a turkey giveaway, that much is clear, but what exactly goes into it, and why is it such an extensive production?
The Gist of the Event
Turkeys for Troops debuted at Toyota of Boerne in 2009 when Vic Vaughan learned about the Thanksgiving-themed giveaway, aimed at supporting those who have served in the armed forces. Originally, the local H-E-B grocery chain refused to sell him what – at the time – seemed like an absurdly large number of turkeys. Then, Walmart stepped in to work out a deal.
TOB’s event began with 500 turkeys. This year, that number reached 6,680.
Active and retired military personnel begin lining up at the dealership as early as 7 a.m. The turnout was so large that the Enterprise location across the street reported not being able to deliver on their “We’ll Pick You Up” slogan due to the traffic the event caused.
Volunteers from local organizations and military groups hand out frozen turkeys to two lanes of oncoming cars, which keeps the line moving quickly.
When the lines finally close, some of the leftover turkeys are left for people to pick up after-hours. The rest are donated to the San Antonio Food Bank.
Mike Shaw Toyota Joins In
For the first time ever, Strong handled two Turkeys for Troops promotions in tandem. Mike Shaw Toyota joined the group, giving away about 500 turkeys per hour. In all, 2,100 turkeys were given away by the day’s end. This event was perfect for Shaw, as he himself is a Vietnam veteran.
Strong Lends A Hand
Since its inception, Strong has handled the promotion of Turkeys for Troops. This year, Amelia, Luke, Elisabeth, and Connie jetted off to Boerne to capture live video, interviews, and photos for social media.
The team used a full arsenal of tactics, including custom-made hashtag tees, prize giveaways, check-in contests, and live streaming.
Gayle and Megan L. handled MST’s social promotion, with the support of Mary-Kate, Andrew, and Shara here at home base. The team is happy to report that, despite the onslaught of turkey media coming through on the same day, no mix-ups were made, and both dealerships received much positive interaction from the promotion.
A Truly Great Cause
Seeing an event like this first-hand leaves no doubt about the authenticity behind it. In Boerne, Vic Vaughan spent all day among the crowds talking with volunteers, veteran groups, and military personnel to thank them for their service. Later, Wells Fargo and the Military Warriors Support Foundation gave away a mortgage-free home to a wounded veteran and his family.
In Corpus Christi, the same heartfeltness was present. Shaw himself was filmed shaking hands and thanking each of the cars coming through the line. As someone with a veteran background, it’s clear he values the real meaning behind this giveaway.