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Overseas Marine frozen in time thanks to biz

A Marine from Staten Island stationed in Afghanistan

A Marine from Staten Island stationed in Afghanistan got special gift for his little sister thanks to a Hicksville ice sculpture company. Credit: Handout

A Hicksville business managed to give a Marine and his little sister the warmest of holiday feelings using -- what else? -- a block of ice.

It all started about a week-and-a-half ago when Staten Island’s Neil Bucken, who is stationed in Afghanistan, started searching for a New York-area company that could do an ice sculpture of himself for 11-year-old sister Sullivan. He had been motivated by a similar piece he had seen while in Los Angeles.

Bucken came across Hicksville’s Ice Sculpture Designs, which has been in business for 17 years and just this year was acquired by cubed-ice supplier Nuzzolese Bros. Ice.

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“[Bucken] left a voicemail for my father, but the message was breaking up because he was calling from Afghanistan,” explained Vinny Nuzzolese Jr.

The elder Nuzzolese ended up with Bucken’s name but no contact information. So Vinny Jr. played amateur detective, contacting a Marine buddy of his who knew the format for Marine Corps e-mail addresses. Before long the Nuzzoleses connected with Bucken and offered to do the ice sculpture for no charge.

“It was the least we could do to make him happy for the holidays,” Nuzzolese Jr. said.

Bucken sent pictures of himself in his dress blue uniform, and Ice Sculpture Designs chiseled away, working on every detail right down to the medals. The design also included a real rose frozen into the hand for Bucken’s sister, and a picture of the two frozen into the base.

The sculpture was delivered to Staten Island on Thursday, surprising everyone in Bucken’s family.

“He made sure to just have a cousin home for the delivery, and he didn’t even tell him [about the ice sculpture],” Nuzzolese Jr. said. “He just told him, ‘Make sure to be at home because something’s coming to you guys.’”

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