BELTON — Last week, Paul Marguglio Jr. hustled around his small ice cream and snow cone stand, testing the shaved ice machine and checking inventory.
Frosti Cone, sitting on the edge of a parking lot near Summer Fun Water Park and Heritage Park on Waco Road, was nearly ready to open for the season.
But a family illness threatened to put the stand’s operation in jeopardy this year.
A Florida native, Marguglio built animatronics for Florida Creative Industries for 13 years before coming to Belton in 2009 after economic setbacks and layoffs. He decided to spend his summers operating an ice cream shop.
“I enjoy it. Working for myself is a blessing,” he said. “I work extremely hard, and I firmly believe that a person can take themselves as far as they’re willing to take themselves.”
In 2011, Marguglio’s father was diagnosed with bone cancer. An engineer who designed missiles for Lockheed Martin, a Navy Seabee and a combat veteran, Paul Marguglio Sr. served in Afghanistan. Until retirement, he kept fit by training with Navy SEALs.
“This man was way above average,” said Paul Marguglio Jr. “God had definitely blessed him.”
Last summer, the elder Marguglio received a bone transplant from a donor in Germany. But when the younger Marguglio returned to Florida at the close of the 2012 Frosti Cone season, his dad’s cancer had returned.
“The transplant was a failure,” he said. “It was Christmas time, and he had about given up.”
Doctors searched globally for DNA-compatible donors, including Paul Marguglio Sr.’s brothers. Although Paul Marguglio Jr. thought it was unlikely his marrow would match, he insisted on being tested.
To his surprise, it did.
“Amazingly, against all odds … I would’ve had a better chance of hitting the lottery or being struck by lightning,” Marguglio said. He donated 1.5 liters of marrow, and despite a bout with pneumonia, his father’s cancer is in remission.
Marguglio returned to Texas with a weight lifted from his shoulders ready for another season at his ice cream stand.
Frosti Cone offers soft-serve ice cream, Blue Bell ice cream, snow cones, soft drinks and cookies from Cookies Galore.
The stand was slated to open for the season today. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday through March 31 and then noon to 9 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. Call (321) 360-4035 or find Frosti Cones on Facebook.