July 4, 2002 - "Summertime Santas"

It's hard to imagine a 4th of July without watermelon. And thanks to one Louisiana company and its "summertime Santas," hundreds of folks won't have to.

Near Franklinton this week Lee Roussel loaded up the back of his pickup with 225 red, ripe, delicious Washington Parish watermelons. They come from Red Jones's watermelon farm, and Red gave Lee a bit of a price break on these.

Lee and his load of melons will be making the rounds of nursing homes from New Orleans to Denham Springs. The money to buy the melons -- plus a whole lot of help in delivering them -- come from the folks who work alongside Lee at ITC Deltacom.

He pauses in his work to explain, "My boss, who is area manager for this area, found out that nursing homes didn't provide watermelons on their regular dietary menu. We felt like the reason we're all here today and free today is because of the people in these nursing homes that protected us and took care of us all these years."

So on the 3rd, July 4th dessert was delivered for the folks at Harvest Manor in Denham Springs. After all, even with fireworks, it can't be the 4th of July without a good taste of watermelon.

The watermelon giveaway started ITC Deltacom's Mobile, Alabama, office and has been spreading west for the last several years. They plan to add the Baton Rouge office to the pro