Santa pays visit to Tampa military family with flooded house - WFLA News Channel 8

Santa pays visit to Tampa military family with flooded house

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Air Force Technical Sgt. Telisha Edwards has had her share of trouble these past two weeks. Air Force Technical Sgt. Telisha Edwards has had her share of trouble these past two weeks.
Air Force Technical Sgt. Telisha Edwards has had her share of trouble these past two weeks.

First, a sewage backup from a faulty sewer pipe connection flooded her brand new home on S.Trask St. near MacDill Air Force Base and no one wanted to accept responsibility for the damage.

Then, after the builder, Ashton Woods Homes, eventually agreed to initiate repairs at no cost to Edwards, a fresh water leak flooded Edwards home Monday.

Thursday, a big man in a red suit made those troubles fade for a while when he showered Edwards 5-year-old daughter Jasmine with gifts at the Home Depot in Largo, where employees banded together to help make the family's Christmas a bit brighter.

"I'm blessed," said Edwards after the Home Depot santa presented the gifts to her daughter. "There are great people out here to help."

Related: Flood strikes twice for airman with new home in Tampa

It turns out there are a lot of people involved in helping the Edwards family overcome their flood troubles.

Commanders at MacDill Air Force Base, where Edwards is stationed after her recently deployment in Afghanistan, played a role. They notified recently-retired Army Special Forces Major Earl Bedford, who has just started an outreach charity called The Military Veterans Warrior Mentorship Program.

Bedford reached out to the Home Depot in Largo where store manager Cecily Burke coordinated an employee outreach effort to buy gifts for the Edwards family.

"I called Ms. Burke from Home Depot and we jumped right on it and started doing some things," Bedford said.

Burke was excited to help the family and said after the holidays Home Depot will do even more to help get Edwards' home back in brand new condition after the two floods.

"It's amazing to be able to reach a family and do what the associates here at the store did," said Burke.

Edwards was overwhelmed by all the generosity and says she plans to pay it forward. "I'm gonna continue to help other people and be there for other people as much as we can."

Edwards expects to celebrate Christmas in a hotel room with her daughter and fiance while workers finish restoring her flood-damaged home but hopes to be back in her home before New Year's Day.

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