Jaudon Family Displaced in Seffner Sinkhole Tragedy
The Jaudon family at 242 Faithway Drive has been displaced by the Seffner Sinkhole tragedy that claimed the life of Jeffrey Bush on Feb. 28 and led to the demolition of the Wicker home next door.
"Immediately, within minutes," the Jaudon family at 242 Faithway Drive in Seffner was asked to leave its home Feb. 28, after a catastrophic sinkhole next door sucked Jeffrey Bush, 36, into the abyss, leading to the demolition of the Wicker family home days later.
That's the report from Lisa Jaudon, a widow, who with her three children no longer expects to be able to live in her home next door.
"They told us, 'You have to get out, it's mandatory, you have to leave now," Jaudon said, in recounting the panic that struck that fateful night.
The next day, Friday, March 1, family members were allowed to re-enter the home for 15 minutes only, to recover what they could of their belongings. A day later, escorted by firefighters, they were allowed another 30 minutes inside the home.
"They allowed two of us to go inside the home," Jaudon said. "The firefighters helped us get our clothes and they took pictures off the walls. We [grabbed] photo albums and things that were special. We were told this may be the last time you'll be allowed back in."
Jaudon said she had a list in her pocket, of things she intended to grab, but "when I got in there, I didn't even look at the list, I didn't have time to think."
She focused, though, on recovering the poetry and drawings her husband, Lonny Jaudon, had created. He graduated from Plant High School in 1974; Lisa Jaudon, from Brandon High, two years later.
"He died six- and a-half years ago in the home, he was 51, so we had that to deal with," Jaudon said. "It's kind of like reliving all of that but in a strange way it's worse because we don't have a place to live."
Lonny Jaudon graduated from Plant High School in 1974; Lisa Jaudon, from Brandon High, two years later. She said her husband worked for Hillsborough County, in roads and streets, for 18 years.
They have three children: Josh, 29; Mark, 24; and Jolie, 20.
"It's a little hard," Jolie Jaudon said about having to move so suddenly from her family home. "It's the only house I've lived in and all the memories I had with my father were in that house."
But, "like you said, it's only four walls," she added.
Jolie Jaudon was referring to the words she heard that Wanda Wicker Carter, who grew up in the house now demolished next door, had said upon leaving 240 Faithway Drive for good.
"It's four walls," she said, about the structure that delineates the family's oasis in the Seffner community. "We have what was inside those four walls, we have each other."
The Jaudon family temporarily is staying with friends from their church, the Cornerstone Baptist Church nearby on Parsons Avenue, and is getting "huge support" from church members and family.
Lisa Jaudon said the family's faith is helping them get through yet another tough time.
"I'm not going to obsess over it," she said. "The Lord" is what gets her through it. "I don't know how people get over [their tragedies] without a church family to help them," she added.
Her family is staying with friends, who have a kitchen to cook in, and still, every night, church members are bringing them cooked meals to eat.
"People know they can't take the real burden so they just want to carry what they can," said Kera Lee, Lisa Jaudon's sister. "That's why they give you money when you have a financial situation. That's why they bring food you can sit down and eat when they know you have hundreds of calls to make."
Lisa Jaudon said her family has not yet recieved the final, ultimate word, that they cannot ever live in their home again.
"I haven't received the final word," she said. "But the [county worker] I talked to said he was not hopeful at all."
She added that a county worker, who she could not name, did not leave her without this: "Even if in two weeks you think of something you need, let us know. Just because we left the site doesn't mean we're forgetting you."
BRANDON PATCH SEFFNER SINKHOLE COVERAGE (Through March 8, starting with the most recent posts):