A Salem Trolley pulled up in front of Anne Turcotte’s home on Thursday, loaded to the brim with holiday cheer.
When its passengers got out, they began to perform Christmas Carols for Turcotte, who is battling cancer. And the trolley was apropos, as Turcotte is the former president of Salem Trolley.
Helen Medler, president of Hawthorne Tours, helped organize the group. She said “some are friends, some are employees” who filled the trolley that arrived at the Ledgewood Drive home.
“I got the idea last week,” she said, and as the number of participants grew the idea to all ride in a trolley seemed to make sense.
Among the participants were Salem Trolley employees, Hawthorne Tour guides and office employees, plus the owner of New England Coach and one of its drivers.
Other members of the Salem tourism industry participated, including Kate Fox, director of Destination Salem; Jen Close from the Peabody Essex Museum; Tina Jordan from the Salem Witch Museum and Eric Rodenhiser from the Witch’s Cottage. Plus, Santa (played by John Bouchard) was also part of the group.
“I wanted (Turcotte) to feel the love that she has so unselfishly given to others for so many years,” Medler said.
On hand to watch the performances (and Turcotte’s reaction) were her children and seven of her eight grandchildren. In addition to Christmas classics, the group also performed its own version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" based trials and tribulations of a tour guide, with each day representing one of the challenges of the job.
Last month, the first-ever Anne Turcotte Leadership Award was handed out, an annual award that will recognize the hard work of someone in the community regarding tourism.
Turcotte is the former director of the North of Boston's Convention and Visitor Bureau, member of the Salem Chamber of Commerce and North Shore Chamber. Most recently she was the head tour operator for Hawthorne Tours.
Turcotte’s mother started Salem Trolley and she has always been a natural in the tourism industry, said Mitch Turcotte, her husband.
“They didn’t have to teach her how to do it,” he said.
Anne Turcotte’s career has involved various work, but the new award recognized her work as interim director of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
“She brought it out of sure doom,” he said.