Officer Finds Homeless Couple Living In The Woods, Hears Their Story And Takes Action
Officer Stumbles Upon Alarming Scene In Woods, Discovers Secret Couple Kept For 22 Years
HeartEternal Staff 2/1/2017
A Tampa Bay, Florida, police officer was combing through the woods when he stumbled across an unusual scene. He had come across these types of situations before, but wasn't prepared at first for what he discovered.
Deep in the wooded area off Manhattan Avenue in South Tampa, Tampa Police Homeless Liaison Officer Daniel McDonald discovered a tent and makeshift living area that belonged to a couple named Evelyn and Rocky. They had been homeless for almost three years. The longtime couple had lost a child, which sent them spiraling into depression. They gave up everything and moved into the woods.
This was the second loss for Evelyn, who years before had lost a son in a tragic car accident. She and Rocky have been by each other's side through life's ups and downs--more low points though, since they were homeless and had experienced painful loss.
When Officer McDonald gently asked them questions about their situation, he learned about their losses, their sadness and their inability to get back on their feet. He discovered that the couple had never married after all these years, simply because they couldn't afford the $93 marriage license. Officer McDonald decided he wasn't going to leave them there, but was going to help them make a fresh start.
So Officer McDonald put out a call to local businesses and together, a group of business owners put together a $20,000 wedding for Evelyn and Rocky, one that left them in tears. Evelyn told WFLA-TV that the day was incredible.
"This is a dream come true and everybody that has done all this... it has just been a dream come true. It is awesome that all these people come together for these two homeless old people."
Together with their loyal canine, the couple had often wondered what it would be like to have a home they could call their own. Officer McDonald was critical in making that come to fruition. Rocky told WFLA-TV how excited he was for a fresh start.
"We look forward to a new life, to start over, that's about all I can say, it is going to be a start over."
The owner of Cross Creek Ranch donated their facility for the wedding, while others donated a wedding dress for Evelyn, a tuxedo for Rocky, along with flowers, drinks and food for those in attendance. The happy couple was so thrilled with the day and to be able to share the special moment with others.
Watch the video below to hear the couple speak about the community's act of kindness.
Now that they are married, Evelyn and Rocky not only share a last name, but thanks to Officer McDonald, they now share a duplex. The home is part of the Housing and Urban Development's continuum of care program. The couple can spend the rest of their lives officially married and with a sturdy roof over their heads, thanks to the generosity of the community and the kindness of Officer McDonald.