One couple has been together for 22 years, but they could never afford the $93 fee for the marriage license. So some charitable individuals came together to help them get married in a beautiful $20,000 wedding ceremony.
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Evelyn Adams and her partner, David “Rocky” Barlett, spent three years living in the woods of South Tampa, Florida, when Daniel McDonald extended his help.
When local businesses heard their story, they donated food, clothes, and the wedding venue to the cause.
The couple has been homeless for six years. They previously lived in Ohio where Barlett worked on a farm, and Adams worked in a restaurant. Then Barlett suffered a heart attack, and Adams had a herniated disc. They moved to Florida but were unable to find employment.
They met McDonald when they were out on the streets. He helped them pay for the $93 license fee, hoping that they could find housing as a married couple.
Adams told a news agency, ”I’m doing it because we should be married. We’ve been together 22 years. If we don’t get inside, it’s all right.”
Local business wanted to help out, so everything—from their limousine to bridal gown and tuxedo—were offered for free. The wedding cost an estimated $20,000 dollars.
Bonnie McSharry is the owner of the Cross Creek Ranch where the ceremony was held. She offered the venue as a gift. Adams has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community. She called the wedding a dream come true.
For Barlett, their wedding signifies a new life and new beginning for them, saying, “We look forward to a new life . . . to start over.”
During the ceremony, their dog Princess served as flower girl. The couple were given a stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Brandon, Florida. They will move into a duplex that is part of the Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care program.
Adams has long dreamed of having a permanent home. Having a new home was even more important than getting a free wedding ceremony. Officer McDonald, who helped the couple get married and get a home, said his work was very rewarding.