TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Off Manhattan Avenue in South Tampa, just a few hundred yards back into the woods, there’s an area where homeless people live. Evelyn Adams and her boyfriend of 22 years, David Barlett, stay there. They’ve been there three years, after leaving their small hometown in Ohio and hitchhiking their way to Florida. Evelyn’s son died in a car crash. It changed her life.
“It’s hard. I wouldn’t want anybody to go through losing a child cause it’s hard. I lost my baby … that’s just my baby,” Evelyn said.
The couple has wanted to get married for a long time but could never seem to afford the $93 for a license. A Tampa Police Department homeless initiative officer, Daniel McDonald, changed that. While working to help get the couple a home, Officer McDonald found a way to get the marriage license paid for.
After a newspaper article was published about the couple, word spread about their pending nuptials. People started coming out of the woodwork to pay for a wedding – to the tune of about $20,000.
“People they’ve never met, who’ve never met them. We had a wedding venue contact me and they wanna host the wedding in Dover and it’s all-inclusive. They’re going to do everything. They’ve had an outpouring of support,” McDonald said.
From the dress, to the venue, to the food, Rocky and Evelyn will have the wedding of their dreams.
“I don’t know what to say. I said, ‘Are you sure these people want to do this for me and Rocky?’ He says, ‘Yes because this is what they do,’” Evelyn said.
From the woods to a wedding, this couple hopes this is the start to a new way of life.