OCEAN BEACH (KGTV) — John Edwards is greeted with a hug and a smile at any shop on Newport Avenue.
He’s done honest work as a plumber in Ocean Beach for the last 20 years and made some friends along the way.
“You develop a relationship with the customer with the business with the people,” Edwards said.
The way he jokes around makes it hard to believe he had open heart surgery a couple of weeks ago.
“In 2019, I had a heart attack that slowed me down a bit," Edwards said. "Then from there, COVID hit, and I ended up getting a stroke.”
Doctors told him he couldn't work for the next four months. The community immediately came together to support him.
“He’s family to a lot of people here in OB," said Hope Martinez, General Manager at La Doña, said. "He’s someone we want to see around for a really long time.”
Employees at La Doña and South Coast Surf Shop started a GoFundMe. Within a couple of days, locals donated more than $22,000.
“This town rallies around its own," Martinez said. "No matter what. I've seen it over the years, and it’s something that’s awesome to be a part of.”
When asked how he felt when he woke up from surgery and found out that the community raised $22,00 for him he said:
“That was a surprise, that was definitely a surprise," Edwards said. "You see how many people support you and how many people are behind you. What you do has an impact.”