28 months. That’s how long Richard K., a Ponte Vedra resident, lived in his home without running water. His plumbing problems started with what he thought was a bad well pump. He spent his entire savings on a replacement only to find out it was not the pump, but a broken main line. The new pump compounded the problem and caused the pipes to fill with sand. Richard then spent over two years without being able to shower, use the bathroom in the privacy of his own home or prepare himself a home-cooked meal. His sense of hopelessness spiraled into depression.
During a short hospital stay, Flagler Health+ Care Connect became aware of Richard’s situation and reached out to United Way of St. Johns County for assistance. Understanding that Richard’s situation was more complex than a broken pipe, Untied Way-SJC contacted several other St. Johns County agencies such as St. Vincent de Paul Nocatee Chapter, Krewe of the 13, St. Johns Housing Partnership and Humana.
“When we were contacted by United Way about Richard’s situation and what the coalition of organizations wanted to do, the Krewe of the 13 knew that this was a case where we could live up to our mission of “Helping People in Dire Need”. The Krewe of the 13 doesn’t just want to solve a short-term problem but change a person’s or family’s situation. With this coalition we not only provided Richard with clean water and sewer, but also the tools for him to change his overall situation,” said Allen Cole, Quartermaster, The Krewe of the 13.
After dozens of Zoom calls, the organizations were able to assist Richard in paying two years of back property taxes, help with household budgeting for future sustainability, apply for his water utilities installation, re-plumb his entire home, pump out the septic tank, install a new hot water heater, disconnect the existing well and weatherize his home.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St John Paul II Conference serves neighbors in need in the Nocatee and surrounding areas typically helping families with rent, utility and food assistance. “It was a unique opportunity for us to join other local organizations to assist our neighbor, Richard. Hopefully, the effort of each of the many generous and caring hands will contribute to a healthy and better future for him” noted a representative of the St. Vincent de Paul Nocatee Chapter.
“Bringing together the organizations needed to turn Richard’s nightmare situation around is what we mean when we say Live United,” said Bev Slough, Chairman of the United Way of St. Johns Board of Directors. “Together, we can do so much more.”