John Oliver, the city’s utility billing supervisor, said Esmond had donated 6 7,615.40 to pay past bills for 114 homes. Holiday cards announcing residents will be sent out this week, he says.
He says he was able to help three times as many homes as Esmond’s donations, despite an increase of 6,400 he paid last year. He was able to help more people because there were so many residents who had bills of $ 100 or less.
“It affected me a lot – people couldn’t even pay $ 100 for their apps, and things were so bad,” Esmond said. “That’s why I was able to pay 114 families.”
The 74-year-old Esmond, owner of Gulf Breeze Pools and Spas, said business was better in 2020. What he says to people is “almost ashamed” because he knows how hard it was for many.
“We have had a good year, which is why I want to Share what I have with those who need it, “he said.
The three-mile bridge is a structure known to locals, Santa Rosa County Public Safety Director Brad Baker said in a September Facebook video.
Considering the city’s epidemic, Oliver, the city’s utility billing supervisor, said residents get a long respite before utilities for water, gas and sewage are cut off.
“We do not disconnect customers, we do not disconnect without payment until they are over 60 days old,” Oliver said.
He says the check written by Esmond covers bills for persons past 60 days. Thereafter there were those who were more than 30 days late and the Govt-19 adjournment because they were directly affected by the virus.
“Although our country and our city are currently going through some very difficult years in some of our lives, there are people out there who are generous, kind, and really want to help others,” Oliver said. “Others in the community want to go and help their neighbors, which is more important now than ever.”
Esmond’s generosity comes from a place of understanding. In the 1980s, his applications were discontinued.
“I lost my luck as people are today, where I had trouble paying bills and raising three daughters,” he said. “The gas company has shut down the gas. We have no heat.”
It was the coldest winter he had ever experienced in the region, with temperatures in single digits, he says.
“I can be with the victims and not be able to pay the bills,” Esmond said. “This was one of the biggest motivations for me because I was there.”
The timing of Esmond’s donation was no accident.
“People can’t pay their bills and put food on the table, so doing my part and paying some bills to these people will take a little bit of stress out of them at Christmas,” he said.
The report was co-authored by CNN’s Nicole Chavez and Jason Hannah.