10 Country: John's a cool guy - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: John's a cool guy

August 21, 2007

Tifton  --  It would seem one job in particular would be ideal, especially with such hot weather, and John Howard has that job.

Not many people look forward to going to work as much as John Howard does. "It's been hot," says John as he walks to work, where an intense heat seems to follow him like his shadow.

"Sometimes you'll be glad to get on into the building," says John as he steps up to the wooden door at a business built in 1945. 

It seems as if the exceptionally hot weather has a death grip on much of the country, but John Howard must punch buttons like many other people to get welcome relief, and some people want his job.  "I imagine a lot of them do when they walk around sweating, working out on the highway or something," says John.

People call John Howard something else besides his given name.  "Yes, I'm the ice man for about 17 years," says John with a big smile.

He makes ice year round the old fashioned way.  "The ice we have is slowly frozen. It takes about 24 hours to freeze a 300 pound block." says John.

Some companies quick freeze the water to make ice, but not John. He takes his time.

Each block positioned in cold storage like a soldier ready to go into a heated battle on a moments notice.

Why would someone want a 300 pound block of ice? Some people use it to help cool the water in their swimming pools. Some industries will use the block of ice to help their air conditioner work better.

It would seem there would be no better time of the year to sell ice than in the summer months.

"No, it's not," says John. He sells more ice during cooler months.

"Our biggest season is in the wintertime, like around Thanksgiving," says John when his ice keeps fresh vegetables cool while going to market.

How does the Ice Man stay cool? His office doesn't have a mechanical air conditioner, but an environmentally friendly one. A small fan pulls cold air from the ice room and blows it into his office.

Ice making never ends.  "See how far the water level is coming up on the can?" says John as he wedges his head between big water pipes that fill the containers.

Even with hot and cold sales, John Howard has never let his customers down. He may have only bins of water today, but he'll have ice tomorrow. That's cool.


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