Exchange concessionaire Ronnie Lewing has run his Summer Snow shaved ice business at Fort Polk for 21 years and become a vital part of the installation’s community.
“I get customers who are active-duty Soldiers who were kids here once,” said Lewing, who operates out of a food truck from April through October.
As snow cone season was winding down recently, families from a Fort Polk neighborhood surprised Lewing with a plaque for his Summer Snow trailer. Over the years, he has received many certificates of appreciation and a collection of 13 challenge coins.
“Ronnie is the true spirit of family serving family, and we are honored to have him here at Fort Polk,” Fort Polk Exchange Services Business Manager Angela Broyard said.
Lewing has Fort Polk connections going back to 1970. He went through basic training at Fort Polk, and the Many, La., resident served in the Louisiana National Guard for six years. Lewing has also worked on civilian construction jobs at Fort Polk.
“I’m kind of married to Fort Polk,” he said.
While his delicious treats are popular around the post, it’s Lewing himself who is the big draw.
“Ronnie just wants to make people happy,” Broyard said. “He’s a great guy. He’s willing to help out anybody, any time.”
Lewing brings Summer Snow to Fort Polk’s housing areas and the Exchange parking lot, even going out to recreational sites. Broyard said Fort Polk units regularly call her office requesting a drop-in from Lewing and his shaved ice trailer.
“Ronnie says, ‘Tell ’em I’ll be there in five minutes,’” Broyard said. “They absolutely love him.”
Lewing’s cones are priced from $1 to $3 and include flavors such as the Sergeant Major (strawberry and cream), the Warrior (butterscotch ice cream and cream) and the Soldier’s Wife (ice cream, cotton candy and cream).
“I love the Soldiers and their families,” Lewing said, “It’s just a part of my life.”