By Rebecca LaFlure

Fort Hood Herald

Blue Bell Ice Cream delivered a sweet surprise to Fort Hood students on their last day of class before the holidays.

A four-member team dished out 9,155 ice cream sandwiches Thursday and Friday to 10 Fort Hood schools.

"It tastes great," third-grader Ramon Reyes said as he devoured his ice cream sandwich at Clarke Elementary School.

Blue Bell gave free ice cream to the 10 Killeen Independent School District schools that were locked down during the Nov. 5 mass shooting at Fort Hood.

"It's never too cold for ice cream," said Mark Strickland, a territory manager for Blue Bell. "We wanted to lift everyone's spirits and show our appreciation to the students and staff."

Strickland also presented each school with a Blue Bell history book for its library and a letter from the president of Blue Bell.

Diane Hodyniak, a librarian at Clarke, said the school has received an outpouring of support from communities across the nation. The Florence Independent School District sent students hand-made red, white and blue bracelets. Another school in Virginia sent teddy bears, one for each classroom.

"It seems like every time we turn around, someone is sending us something and saying how much they appreciate us," she said.

Third-grader Nadia Matos said the ice cream was the best part of her day. "It's delicious," she said. "I was very surprised."

Contact Rebecca LaFlure at or (254) 714-2063.

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