A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Cool cops hand out shaved ice on hot day

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SPRING HOPE ­— Police officers and a local business owner teamed up last week to help kids, and their parents, cool off in the summer heat.

“All we were doing was having fun and making people smile,” said Spring Hope Police Chief Nathan Gant.

Gant and Officer Jake Gwaltney helped Kona Ice hand out around 100 free cups of shaved ice Thursday.

Kona, a Wendell-based flavored shaved ice truck, pulled up to random spots around town including the Rose Mart on Nash Street, and offered free shaved ice treats to anyone who wanted one — which was everyone in sight.

Kona owner Jim Cummings said he and Gant paid for the treats. The cost didn’t come out of the police department’s budget.

“As I think about this event, I can’t help but smile,” Cummings said. “It was by God’s design that I crossed paths with Chief Nate. I can say, it has taken me over 50 years to fully understand and practice the message in Acts 20:35. Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give then receive.’”

Gant said he’d like to do something similar once a month.

“Looking at possibly doing s’mores in front of the police department when winter comes,” Gant said. “I met with the officers and asked them what they would like to do and these were a few things they gave me, so I just made it happen.”

Michelle Kay, the town’s librarian, and her youngest son Troy were quick to jump in line when they heard from a happy neighbor slurping on a cup of shaved ice about the free treats being given away. Kay had pink bubblegum and her son enjoyed a banana flavor.

“I think it’s cool they did this. It’s great to see the police out like this. Spring Hope is such a great little town. I want free hot dogs next time,” said Kay — who is this reporter’s wife.

Cummings said he wasn’t expecting a news article when he agreed to come to town.

“I am sure that this will sound unusual coming from a small family owned and operated business, not wanting a big write-up in the paper, but just wanting to experience the joy of spreading some kindness and love to our communities,” Cummings said.

Gant also initially demurred when asked to comment, saying he didn’t want attention for simply doing the right thing.

With everything going on in the world from the coronavirus to shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, Gant said he just wanted to provide a chance for kids to feel like things were halfway normal again.

Gant, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone and several local law enforcement officers participated in a peaceful march around Spring Hope earlier this month in support of social justice and parity in policing.