Michael Esmond, a Florida businessman who was once down on his luck is giving back to the people by covering the utility bills of 114 families who are facing disconnection.
“I can relate to people suffering and not being able to pay bills, that’s probably one of the biggest motivators for me because I’ve been there.”
Michael started his giving spree last year, where he spent $4,600 to help out 36 families in his community of Gulf Breeze. But the year 2020 hasn’t been kind to many, first the global pandemic and then Hurricane Sally hitting the city.
Esmond donated $7,615.40 to cover the bill expenses of the 114 households, Esmond’s donation, as this year many of the household bills he paid for had bills under $100.
“That really impacted me– that people can’t even afford to pay $100 bill on their utilities and things are so bad,” Esmond said. “That’s why I was able to pay for 114 families.”
Michael Esmond told CNN, “This year to me probably is more meaningful than last year with the pandemic and all the people out of work having to stay home. Hurricane Sally slammed us pretty good and hurt a lot of people. We still have a lot of the blue roofs here, where they’re just covered with traps.”
74-year-old Esmond is the owner of Gulf Breeze Pools and Spas, “We’ve had a good year, and that’s why I want to share what I have with the people who need it.”
Not only the coronavirus made a huge impact on the economic toll, Gulf Breeze has dealt with the lingering effects of Hurricane Sally as well. An accident in the storm damaged a section of the newly built Pensacola Bay Bridge that connects to Gulf Breeze in September.
Given the conditions in the city, Oliver, the city’s utility billing supervisor said residents are getting a longer grace period before their utilities for water, gas and sewer are disconnected.
“We’re not cutting customers off. We’re not disconnecting them for nonpayment until they are more than 60 days past due,” said Oliver.
Esmond’s check covered the bills for people who were 60 days past due, said Oliver. The remaining balance from the check covered the one’s who were more than 30 days overdue and had a Covid-19 deferral, as they were directly affected by the virus.
Michael Esmond was also suffering the safe fortune in 1980 when his utilities were shut off, “I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills and raising three daughters, at the time the gas company shut the gas off, and we didn’t have any heat,” he said.
Esmond remembers the winter as the coldest winter he’s ever experienced in the area, and the temperature was in the single digits, “I can relate to people suffering and not being able to pay bills, that’s probably one of the biggest motivators for me because I’ve been there.”
Esmond’s donations couldn’t have come at a better timing, with the holiday season coming up, 114 households will have one less thing to worry about.
“People can’t afford to pay their bills and put food on the table, so I hope doing my part and paying some bills for these folks takes a little bit of stress off them around Christmas time,” said Edmond.
Now that you’ve read about Michael Esmond and his heartfelt gifts to the needy ones, read about the Tanzanian miner who became an overnight millionaire by finding a rare stone, recently found another.