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Pint for a Pint: Great Licks Ice Cream shop, Hookers host blood drive

June 26, 2013
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Pine Island Eagle

It sounds like a pretty fair trade, a pint for a pint.

You give a pint of blood, you get a pint of ice cream - everybody wins.

That's what people had in store Saturday when they visited Great Licks Ice Cream as the Matlacha Hookers hosted its latest blood drive in the parking lot.

Article Photos

Carol Roscher of Pine Island displays her badge of honor after giving blood at the blood drive outside Great Licks Ice Cream on Saturday.


People waited in the "Big Red Bus" to donate a pint of blood, get some goodies from One Blood (formerly Florida Blood Centers), which runs the mobile blood center, and get a voucher for a free pint of ice cream.

B.J. Hickey, owner of Great Licks, said it was his ice cream supplier who supplied the inspiration for the ice cream giveaway.

"Queenie (Vanessa Viglione) has always been very generous in anything that helps the community. When I was approached by the Hookers to do the blood drive, she said she would give a pint for every pint they collected," Hickey said. "She donates ice cream to summer camp for kids. She part of our whole operation."

Dickey said the Blood Mobile has set up shop at his location two or three times a year for about three years.

The Hookers, who have put on this event, and many others, for several years, not only hosted the event, they also participated. D.J. Ruscik, Madame of the Hookers, was with her husband, Tom, giving their share to the cause.

"Our relationship with One Blood is solid, we've done the event at Winn-Dixie, our location can vary, but it's the support of the community we depend on," Ruscik said. "I want everybody who donates to know how appreciated they are and realizes with each donation, they can help three other people."

The Hookers are a non-profit civic organization for women which helps the residents of Matlacha to make a positive difference in the community, Ruscik said.

The entire process, from walking in to walking out a pint lighter, took about an hour, after which, donors received a free movie pass, a discount coupon to Outback Steak House and a voucher for a free pint of ice cream.

It was a deal Carol Roscher of Pine Island couldn't pass up. She ate her ice cream, her arm bandaged in a color that matched her shirt.

"I've been a blood donor all my life. Last week we were here for ice cream and saw the sign and said let's do that and get a pint of ice cream to boot," Roscher said. "We've known enough people who have needed blood and it's something I can do and I like doing it."

And that's what it was all about for Hickey, more than about bringing in more customers.

"Most of the customers who donate blood, they know Great Licks and Island Visions, so that exposure is important, but the exposure that blood is going for a good cause is more important," Hickey said. "In a small community we all support each other."

The "Big Red Bus" sits in the parking lot next to Great Licks Ice Cream in Matlacha.



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