MOULTRIE -- The Houston Astrodome now has ice production on-site thanks to the generosity of Moultrie's Ice House America.
Ice House, which manufactures automated vending machines that produce ice on demand, sent two vending units worth nearly $100,000 each from its sole manufacturing facility in Moultrie Sunday to aid the Federal Emergency Management Agency relief effort. They should be up and running to produce thousands of pounds a day for the thousands of evacuees sheltered there.
"This issue is so dramatic. It's so -- it needs attention from everywhere," owner Bob Alligood of Jacksonville said Tuesday. "When you sit around and watch TV and see all this going on, it just tears your heart out."
One Ice House America representative Danny Dunn, just three weeks after having a heart attack, is in Houston setting up the units, he said.
In addition to the Texas units, a couple of ice vending machines might be making their way to Mississippi. Ice House America has made an offer to Sen. Trent Lott's office with the assistance of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Alligood said.
"If the authorities in charge in Mississippi can identify where they want one or two to go, we will send them," he said.
Chambliss said he discussed with Lott Tuesday where in Mississippi the units could go because they need power and water to operate.
"I think it just says great things about the people in Colquitt County and their willingness to provide help to folks," Chambliss said.
"They have been terrific out there, just like the people at the Baptist Assembly and all over Colquitt County. And that's the same reaction all across America, and that's what I had the chance to hear here a few minutes ago. I'm real pleased that my home county would react the way it has, and I'm very humbled that we played a very minor role in it. It's those folks who made the contribution," Chambliss said.
Chambliss went on to say that the company went "overboard" in not only donating the units but traveling to Houston to install them.
Plant Manager Ron Penuel added that some of their ice houses which had been purchased by people in Louisiana and already in place have been giving away ice in the Baton Rouge area.
The donations will impact production but only slightly, Alligood said.