Man pays utility bill for families to keep the heat on for Christmas

Man pays utility bill for families to keep the heat on for Christmas

December 22, 2020 by Cathy Stack

Gulf Breeze, Florida – As many as 114 financially struggling families under the threat of having their utility shut off during Christmas week will now be burden free due to one generous minded veteran and business owner.  Michael Esmond, who was once down on his luck, is paying it forward by helping those in need by paying their utility bill to ensure all families in his community have a warm and festive home for the holidays.  

Michael’s random acts of kindness started last year when he paid the utility bills of 36 households. This year, the great grandfather felt he needed to do more as there were many more struggling in his city dealing with the economic turmoil stemming from both Hurricane Sally and the pandemic.

"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," said Michael. 

Michael donated $7,615.40 to pay for the past-due bills of 114 households, confirmed Joanne Oliver, the city's utility billing supervisor.  The residents are being notified of the happy news in a holiday greeting card sent to them right before Christmas. Joanne confirmed that the check that Michael wrote covered the bills for people who were 60 days past due. The balance after that covered those who were more than 30 days overdue and had a Covid-19 deferral. 

Joanne was touched by his heartfelt gesture.  She said she was brought to tears by the notion that even though our country and city is undergoing the most difficult year of some of our lifetimes, there are still generous and kind people out there who really want to help others.


Michael 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," he said. 

His generosity was inspired by his own experiences. In the 1980s, his own utilities were shut off. "I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills while raising three daughters," he said. "The gas company shut the gas off and we didn't have any heat."  It happened to be the coldest winter he's ever experienced in the area, and temperatures were in the single digits, he recalled.  He never forgot those hard times and is now doing what he can to help others enduring similar hardship. 

"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 of them around Christmas time," he said.  He added that he hoped his gesture would serve as an example of how we can always find a way to give back.

PassItOn would like to celebrate Michael Esmond for the compassion and kindness he has shown to families in need this Christmas.  His action is a great example of the value of generosity and is a reminder of the true meaning of giving this holiday season.  Please help us honor this local hero by sharing this heartwarming story.

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Your Comments
Bob Stevenson from Lebanon, PA DECEMBER 23, 2020
A Need That is Greater Than Mine by Bob Stevenson Lord, there is a need that is greater than mine. But there are always needs greater than mine, And I cannot deal with all of them. Why this one, why now, why me? I cannot feed the world, or spread your Word to every soul. Haven't I already given my share? But what is my share? How did you measure my share When I came to you and asked for more; When life seemed more than I could bear? Did you recount the blessings given yesterday, And turn away? There are always needs greater than mine. Lord, help me to respond one need at a time. Help me to grasp the hand that reaches out today, And do what I can. You taught us of the extra mile, and the widow's mite. You taught us with the loaves and fishes, That in the sharing there is enough and more to spare. Help me to learn again. There are always needs greater than mine. Right now I can only deal with this one, Because it's here, and it touches my life; Because it's real; because it matters. I'll deal with the next one tomorrow, or next week, Or whenever you come and ask again. Perhaps my need is greater than I knew: My need to give, as you have given to me. Thank you, Lord, for needs I can do something about.

Cheryl from Wisconsin DECEMBER 23, 2020
You are an angel to those in need and a beacon of light for the rest of us to follow.

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