Community Bands Together To Help Homeless Couple Fulfill Dream Wedding

By Tatiana Ortiz

Owners Sean and Bonnie McSharry from Cross Creek Ranch in Dover held a special wedding event on Friday, April 1. Evelyn Adams Barlett and David “Rocky” Barlett exchanged their wedding vows in a romantic atmosphere, which set the tone for the ceremony. They have been together for 22 years, but did not have the finances to purchase a marriage license. The couple, who was once homeless for three years, has reached a new beginning in their lives with the help of the community.

Officer Daniel McDonald from the Tampa Police Department Homeless Initiatives specializes in homeless outreach. He has worked with Evelyn and Rocky for some time now, trying to get them permanent housing.
McDonald was aware that Evelyn and Rocky were not married. He looked up the cost of a marriage license, which cost $93.50 and proposed an idea to them.

“They were really interested in getting married and funds were donated to get them their marriage license,” said McDonald.

McSharry also stepped in after hearing the story from other media outlets and it was something she could relate to and she gave a call to McDonald. The $20,000 wedding came together through the support of the community, donations from vendors such as Alessi Bakery, HH Catering, photographers, florists and much more. All the guests at the wedding were volunteers who donated their services.

“Evelyn and Rocky designed their wedding and chose the menu for the food,” said Director Nancy Spooner from Cross Creek Ranch.

During the ceremony, the Barlett’s were joined by their friends and guests. Major James Hall, area commander at The Salvation Army of Tampa/Hillsborough County, officiated the wedding. Along with that, their dog, Princess, attended and acted as flower girl. She wore her collar covered with flowers for this special occasion. Richard Walsh, who is a friend of Evelyn and Rocky, walked Rocky down the aisle. Walsh has lived in Tampa with the couple at the same homeless camp for almost three years.

“I met Evelyn and Rocky in 2013. They are the two most caring people I have ever met,” said Walsh.

Lastly, the couple received a key to their new place and are moved in. Homemakers of Hope donated all of the furniture and furnishings. The couple truly got their fairytale ending.

“Words cannot describe how grateful were are for Officer McDonald and the people who did this for us,” said Evelyn.

For more information on Cross Creek Ranch, visit www.crosscreekranchfl.com. It is located at 12950 E. Wheeler Rd. in Dover. Hours of Operation Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Call 651-0934.