LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – After hearing of one family’s struggle to file for unemployment, one Ormond Beach couple felt compelled to give them $3,000.
Stacy Harmon was furloughed from her job at a dentist office in mid-March and ever since had been trying to apply for Florida unemployment benefits, but has yet to receive a single penny because of the ongoing issues with Florida’s unemployment compensation system.
The family, including seven children, closed on their dream home on Valentine’s Day and moved in not knowing that weeks later, Harmon wouldn’t have a salary coming in. Because of that, she said her husband who is an Orange County firefighter was putting himself more at risk and picking up more overtime shifts to help make up for the financial loss.
Hearing her story compelled Robert Tomlinson and Michelle Phillips, of Ormond Beach, to send the family a check for $3,000.
“When I see stories like that, that Channel 6 news puts out it really opens up my heart and I just love doing it,” Tomlinson told Harmon via a Zoom video call on Tuesday. "Having seven children, I know it has to be tough even with both parents working, plus he’s a fireman so I’m glad I was able to do it. "
An emotional Harmon thanked him through her tears.
"Robert, I'm so blessed that we had this opportunity to talk even virtually, but I can not put it into words how grateful Jeffrey and the kids and I are for the help that you gave us," she said. "It certainly reminded us all that here are good people out there."
Harmon said the money will help cover the mortgage and bills for May, and any extra money she plans to use it to pay it forward.
“It’s such an unbelievable weight that was lifted off our shoulders by the generosity of complete strangers,” she said. “We know that we got a little bit more time to try to come up with a plan.”