TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The past few days have been a whirlwind for this Tampa, Florida couple.
Evelyn Adams and her boyfriend of 22 years, David ‘Rocky’ Barlett, have been homeless for nearly three years. On Friday, they married – in a celebration donated by local businesses. From the dress to the limo ride to the venue, everything was donated.
Rocky and Evelyn used to stay in a wooded area a few hundred yards back from the road. The couple spent three years there after leaving their small hometown in Ohio following the death of Evelyn’s son, who was killed in a car crash.
Rocky and Evelyn had wanted to get married for a long time, but could never seem to afford the $93 license.
When a Tampa Police Department homeless initiative officer, Daniel McDonald, found the couple in the woods, he began working to find a home for them. While doing so, Officer McDonald found a way to get the marriage license paid for.
Now, Rocky and Evelyn have come a long way from the wooded area they once called home. On Monday, they moved into their new home. The couple pulled up to the new home in a limousine.
“It is a start over for me and her. Nobody really had to do this for us,” Rocky said.
The community has rallied behind the couple. Members of Homemakers for Hope spent the day turning a Tampa duplex into a home with donated furniture. The home was made possible through a Department of Housing and Urban Development program.
“It is exciting, heartwarming, heartwarming to have all these people come together for these two old people that used to live in the woods. We don’t have to live in the woods no more because we got a home,” Evelyn said. “All I can say is there is nothing in this world I can say but just thanks to everybody.”
For the couple, it’s truly a new lease on life. It was a feel-good moment for the volunteers who do this type of work on a regular basis.
“We get so much satisfaction every week, but this one is very special and we are very happy for Rocky and Evelyn. So everybody is going to be really happy to just go home and know that we were able to contribute,” Pam Stamey with Homemakers of Hope said.
Dan McDonald, the homeless liaison officer who pulled everything together for Rocky and Evelyn, said that he hopes this will lead to a chain reaction of good deeds in the area.
“Maybe they can go volunteer and help someone else that’s less fortunate than them, and if everyone else does that than maybe we can make Tampa even a better place,” Officer McDonald said.