Ice cream delivers smiles

When the telltale music resonates from Sno-Cone Joe’s ice cream truck, the kids come running. Perhaps it is the ice cream selection combined with the warm weather that brings the children to Doug Blanchard’s ice cream truck every day. Or maybe it is Blanchard’s warm personality and way of capturing smiles from children that bring in the business.

Blanchard is a retired police officer who served for 22 years in Gloversville, N.Y. Blanchard said that he worked his police shift at night while driving his ice cream truck during the day.

Blanchard first discovered Whidbey Island 40 years ago when he was stationed here with VAH 2, a heavy attack squadron. He said that he remembered what a beautiful place Whidbey Island was and after he retired from law enforcement, he and his wife Joan decided to move back. Now he’s driving his ice cream truck through the neighborhoods of Oak Harbor.

“I enjoy my job because it’s fun and I like being Santa Claus every day instead of just once a year. The kids are wonderful and the people here are all so nice!” Blanchard said.

Blanchard’s truck carries 46 ice creams in assorted colors and flavors. He makes a stop at the Boys and Girls Club around 4:30 where many kids line up to get their own sugary treats. Blanchard gives out a discount to the Boys and Girls Club counselors to show his appreciation for their work. As a former Boy Scout, Blanchard admires those who make a positive impact on the lives of children.

Oak Harbor resident Jazmine Franklin, 7, was found eating ice cream that she bought from Blanchard’s truck during one of his routine stops.

“I like the Firecracker Double Fudge bar, I get it every time he comes here, he’s really nice!” Jazmine said.

In addition to Blanchard, another ice cream man runs a truck in Oak Harbor.

Amrik Singh is from Punjab, India. Singh has been living in the United States for about 22 years, beginning in California where he managed a 7-11 convenience store. In Oak Harbor, he is the manager of Henderson’s Restaurant and Queen Anne Motel. In addition to managing Henderson’s and the Queen Anne Motel, Singh operates his ice cream truck mainly in the evening, all over Oak Harbor. Singh has been driving the ice cream truck in Oak Harbor since April of this year.

“I enjoy driving the ice cream truck because of all the kids I get to see and the community is nice,” Singh said.

On most days, both men can be found driving around Oak Harbor, selling ice cream and candy to excited children. Together, they make summer just a little bit sweeter for kids.

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