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Ice cream a sweet thanks for firefighters

Rex Nickerson scoops ice cream Wednesday evening during Baskin-Robbins’ “31 Cent Scoop Night.” The Oak Harbor ice cream parlor sold more then 1,200 scoops between 5 and 10 p.m. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Rex Nickerson scoops ice cream Wednesday evening during Baskin-Robbins’ “31 Cent Scoop Night.” The Oak Harbor ice cream parlor sold more then 1,200 scoops between 5 and 10 p.m.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

A steady stream of ice-cream lovers filtered through the shop’s front door to the outside where North Whidbey Fire and Rescue firefighters showed off a rescue rig and talked with sugar-hyped kids and their parents about fire safety.

At one point the line extended down the sidewalk and around the building on Highway 20 in Oak Harbor, said Baskin-Robbins franchise owner and store manager Rex Nickerson.

Nickerson and his crew sold just over 1,200 scoops Wednesday night, and did it with speed, smiles and only one extra scooper on staff.

Kids explored a fire truck and picked up magnets and golden fire badge stickers from several firefighters at the event who were dressed in bunker gear — the trademark yellow fire suit with reflective taping.

The third annual nation-wide fundraiser is a way to lure customers in the door, and hopefully they donate to the fire department, Nickerson said. Donation “boots” were located at the cash register and outside with the rescue rig.

There have been other fundraisers in the past, he said, but they lacked the localized feel of the 31-cent scoop night, which specifically honors firefighters.

Nickerson invited North Whidbey Fire and Rescue personnel to his store for the evening because several of his longtime friends are with the department, he said.

Aside from the local fundraiser, the Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation donated $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, according to the Baskin-Robbins Web site.

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