There’s no time like Christmas when it comes to giving to those in need. Whether it’s gifts, love or even prayers, lending your support in some way takes on extra significance this time of year.

That’s something Florida business owner Michael Esmond knows only too well. Back in the 1980’s, Esmond struggled to make ends meet. During Christmas 1983, he and his three daughters had to spend the festive season without heat and power because they couldn’t pay their bills.

Fast forward to now, and things are different. Well, at least for Esmond himself. He still remembers how cold that Christmas was.

As a result, he’s done something truly wonderful for the people of the Gulf Breeze community where he lives. According to reports, as many as 36 families were at risk of having their power supplies disconnected because their electricity was to be turned off.

Esmond wasn’t about to let that happen. Instead, he paid all their bills ahead of Christmas, so that this holiday season they won’t have to worry about them. As Esmond explained to CNN, all told it cost him about $5,000.

He explained: “I actually lived that back in the 1980s. I experienced the same thing, having trouble paying bills. My gas was shut off, and we had no heating for the whole winter.

“It was one of the coldest winters in Florida; temperature got down to the single digits.

“That was definitely in my mind when I received the bill this year.”

Esmond lives in a close community numbering around 6,000 people. He says the response has been overwhelming.

“I got a great feedback on my Facebook page and business phone. People were texting me and calling me to thank me for what I had done,” he said.

“It made me cry. It made me cry,” Joanne Oliver, Gulf Breeze’s utility billing supervisor, told CNN affiliate WEAR . “For someone like him, a veteran to come in and do some grand gesture. It was heartfelt for me.”

Instead of a warning that their power would soon be cut off, the residents who benefitted from Esmond’s charity received instead a letter that read: “It is our honor and privilege to inform you that your past due utility bill has been paid by Gulf Breeze Pools & Spas. You can rest easier this holiday season knowing you have one less bill to pay. On behalf of Gulf Breeze Pools & Spas, we here at the City of Gulf Breeze would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday season.

Wow! What a fantastic gesture from Michael Esmond. We’re sure many families will have a far easier Christmas because of it.

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