The Wedding of Rocky & Evelyn, and How it Ended Their Homelessness

Dreams can come true! Six years ago today, I took homeless couple Rocky & Evelyn from a camp in the woods to a fairytale wedding, and ultimately to a home of their own (permanently ending their homelessness).

This is what can happen when a community comes together to help those most in need (I as a police officer had a budget of zero for a wedding and arranged this entirely through the generosity of others).

When I first met Rocky & Evelyn, I was impressed by how organized their camp was. And if they can manage this well in a camp, I thought they would be great candidates for permanent housing.

We started working on a plan to get them into housing. They also mentioned they wanted to get married after being together for over 20 years. It turns out they could not afford $93 for a marriage license.

I thought I could probably raise the money for the license. Maj. Chip Hall at the Salvation Army, Tampa Area Command offered to host and officiate the ceremony. Once word got about about Rocky & Evelyn’s long-overdue marriage, the community rallied around them, throwing them a dream wedding, all donated by generous donors.

I tell this story to highlight the importance of outcomes and not inputs. Focus on the needs of the clients, and work from there. Maintain your perseverance and good things will happen.