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MAKING A MARK: Sailor from Suffolk promoting health, wellness with traditional drink

If cool November temperatures have you missing the tastes of summer, a glass of lemonade might do the trick. Carl Hale, Jr. put a healthy spin on the drink's recipe.

SUFFOLK, Va. — What do you use to make lemonade? Sugar? Fresh-squeezed lemons? 

What about ginger?

Navy Third Class Petty Officer Carl Hale, Jr. started making ginger lemonade after trying it for the first time while in Atlanta.

"I was trying to find somewhere local that had it, but I couldn't find it anywhere. So, I was like, maybe I can figure out how to make it on my own," said Hale. "From there, it was just figuring out the best way to juice the ginger. I juiced it, I would blend it and strain it."

"I feel like ginger is addicting," said Hale. "Because people ask me, 'What do you put in there? What do you put in there?' [Be]cause it's like, once you drink it, you want more."

Hale handed out the all-natural ginger beverage to fellow crew members while he was stationed onboard USS Lincoln between 2016 and 2019.

"I would walk around with this bag on the ship... And I was like, 'Hey, try this lemonade! Try this lemonade,'" said Hale. "Once I got it down, they [were] like, 'Yeah, I need more of this!' They [were] like, 'Oh, [have] you seen Hale with his bag of juices?'"

It wasn't long before the Suffolk native turned his recipe into a business called GingerHale's. The pandemic and deployment almost caused the business to go under until Hale's biggest supporter swept in.

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"I'm attached to a medical ship. I was part of the New York Comfort mission," said Hale. "So, they told us, 'Y'all [are] going out to sea. We don't know how long y'all [are going to] be out there." 

"First person I thought about [to help] was my mom," said Hale. "[I] taught her how to make it, how to label the bottles and everything. And she fell in love with it like I did."

Hale said it could be because ginger lemonade satisfies more than just your thirst.

"The ginger is a natural pain killer, immune system booster... eases menstrual pain, [and] helps [with] morning sickness," said Hale. "It's so many benefits to ginger."

And an added benefit for Hale is getting to share his passion with the world. And that's pretty sweet.

"People sing. They dance. The smiles. Like, it's crazy," said Hale. "Like, it's a really heartwarming feeling -- people enjoying something that I created out of my kitchen."

What started in Hale's kitchen is now manufactured in a distribution center in Virginia Beach and sold in five local restaurants -- Desmond’s Island Soul Grill, CLTRE Vegan Joint, Herbal Market Wellness Center, Conscious Planet, and Major Phillie Cheese Steaks. 

GingerHale's Lemonade comes in five flavors-- original, pineapple, strawberry kiwi, mixed berry, and matcha blueberry. You can also order the lemonade through GingerHale's website.

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