JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s hard to imagine how Joyce Crumley was managing to live in her home without running water for 14 months.
She showed News4JAX how she used a hose, attached to a well pump in her backyard, to fill a large spaghetti pot with water, then heat it on her stove to use to clean her dishes.
She followed the same process, filling a 5-gallon bucket, to flush her toilets. No running water also meant no ability to shower at her Jacksonville home. She joined a local gym and would use its showers to bathe.
Crumley said up until last year, she was managing just fine living on a fixed income as a widow. But a series of events pushed her life nearly over the edge.
First, a builder offered to move the well pump that circulates water to her home to another part of her property so the builder could put in a septic tank next door to Crumley. She said it led to an electrical fire that knocked out power to her mobile home. She did not have the money to both reconnect the water and pay to restore electricity to her home. She had no insurance.
Crumley paid for a new electrical box and was still trying to figure out how to run piping to her home to get water again. She admits she had no idea what she was doing but could not afford the thousands of dollars plumbers were quoting her for the work.
Then, she received a terrifying diagnosis: Stage 3 cancer.
“I start therapy next Monday,” she cried. “So I’m fighting for my life and fighting for my home and I don’t know how much longer I can do this.”
When Snyder Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electric heard about Crumley’s living conditions, its employees didn’t hesitate to help. Snyder plumbers spent several days assessing the problem, running pipe to her home and reconnecting her water to her well.
“We recognize how hard she was struggling to get all this done and still going through,” said Tim Wood with Snyder. “We felt we needed to fight as hard as she is to get her some good clean water to the house.”
He showed us the 160-plus-foot line of piping laid to connect the well that pumps water to Crumley’s home.
Snyder donated all the supplies, including a new well pump, and all the labor to help her.
“My heart is palpitating; I’m so excited,” said Crumley as she watched the work in her backyard. “Thank you, thank you so much.”
Crumley was elated when she and Wood stood in her bathroom and turned on the faucet to see water running into her sink again after more than a year.
“I can’t thank you enough. God works in mysterious ways,” she told Wood. “I can flush my toilet. You don’t know how hard it’s been after the fire. Can I give you a hug on TV?”
“Absolutely,” Wood said.
“We can all learn a little something from her about tenacity and willpower,” Wood said about Crumley, who is forever grateful to the strangers who helped her so she can focus now on winning her fight against cancer.