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West Texas shaved ice truck owner delivers smiles to children in the Uvalde community

Carlos Rodriguez found himself driving to Uvalde two days after the horrific shooting, not knowing quite what to expect.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — When tragedy grips a small community, every little bit of help is absolutely crucial, especially from the surrounding areas.

Emotional and financial support are obviously the first two items on that very long list, but everything can help, even if it’s a just a small reminder to the affected community that a world does still exist outside of an all-consuming grief, that although life may never be “normal” the way it was normal before; and the grief never goes away entirely, it does eventually stop consuming all, and life is still waiting to be built upon again.

In short, shaved ice is not high on the list at all. But it’s on it.

San Angelo Kona Ice owner Carlos Rodriguez found himself driving to Uvalde two days after the horrific shooting that stole the lives of 19 children and two teachers, not entirely knowing what to expect when he got there, just that if he could use his truck to help, it would be more than worth the time and gas.

“The first trip, just like everyone else, we were shocked and saddened about what happened over there,” Rodriguez said. “So, we happen to have this Kona Ice business, and we know that as we go around San Angelo that we bring some happiness to some kids and some families here, so why not take it to Uvalde and try to support those kids and those families and that community with a cup of shaved ice.”

When he arrived, the town was a nerve center of unimaginable shock, confusion, law enforcement and media, but his original impulse to get in the truck and go was almost immediately justified.

“It was a little scary going up there. I mean, what do you find when you get up there? When you pull into town, where do you go? There were news cameras all over the place. The small town was just overwhelmed with folks,” Rodriguez said. “It was overwhelming but it was humbling. The kids, we happened to park right outside the doors where they were coming out of counseling, so to see their faces light up seeing the truck, and to be able to forget all of what’s going on for just that little piece of time there was very nice to see.”

Rodriguez said he wasn’t the only food truck owner with an impulse to help.

“We saw food trucks from all over Texas there. Offering food and drinks. There was a food truck next to us from Beeville that drove five hours to get there. So, that was the great part to see. People from all over our state coming together to support this community that is really hurting.”

Rodriguez has made two trips in the last few months, and is planning a third for November.

“I just like the fact that all these folks from outside Uvalde came together, and they’re still doing that to this day. There are food trucks coming for weeks and weeks and weeks after to support that community. Even our fellow franchisees with Kona Ice from all over the country called me. They wanted to see how they can support Uvalde through maybe a donation or help us with cups or whatever we may need. You know, that was just so awesome to see.”

When tragedy struck in Uvalde this past May, San Angeleno Carlos Rodriguez, owner of Kona Ice of San Angelo had to step...

Posted by San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center on Sunday, July 31, 2022

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