By Brittany Llorente
BREVARD - What was supposed to be a weeklong vacation on Brevard's beaches, turned into a month long stay and an unexpected situation for one Ohio family.
Cincinnati residents Justin and Dana Hussel traveled to the sandy beaches of the Space Coast last month for vacation, accompanied by their 2-year-old son, Bailen, as well as Mrs. Hussel's mother, sister and grandmother.
Seven-months pregnant at the time, Mrs. Hussel, who is a nurse at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, visited her local doctor prior to setting off to the sunshine state, and got the green light for the couple's travels.
But just a few hours after arriving at their Cocoa Beach condominium on June 17, Mrs. Hussel pulled her husband, a truancy and juvenile crime officer for the Colerain Township Police Department, aside and said, "I think my water broke."
The couple called around, attempting to find a hospital that specialized in premature births and soon arrived at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge.
At 2:33 p.m. the following day, the Hussels welcomed Collin, a 4-pound, 6-ounce baby boy into the world.
What would normally be a moment of extreme happiness for the family was a rollercoaster of emotions.
"On Sunday and Monday when this was all happening, we were trying to figure out what to do," Mr. Hussel said. "We only had a place to stay for one week."
Doctors at the hospital, however, told the family that because of some complications with his premature birth, Collin would need to be monitored until at least mid-July.
The family had only packed enough clothing and toiletries for seven days, and all of their newborn baby items and equipment were 1,000 miles away.
After getting word of the Hussels situation, Colerain Township Police Chief Daniel Meloy contacted the Rockledge and Cocoa Beach Police Departments, requesting any assistance their members could offer the family.
"They were stuck between a rock and a hard place," said Chief Bryan Holmes of the Cocoa Beach Police Department. "They were in need and needed to stay longer than expected. We reached out to the community and worked on getting some support."
Taking the family's story to heart, the hospital nurses and staff also encouraged local residents and organizations to help out.
"We received money and gift cards for Publix and Wal-Mart, and lots of people donated money and wrote checks to us," said Officer Hussel said, still in awe of the generosity shown to his family. "Through some contacts with the hospital's nurses, we were able to find another two-bedroom condo for four weeks.
"This whole experience has been overwhelming, for sure," he said. "The help we are receiving down here, from people we don't even know, is just unbelievable."
Chief Holmes, whose department donated money and gift cards to the family, said instances like this are what bring a community together.
"This is about a young family in need and a community coming forward to donate," he said. "It's very heartwarming. This is something we've seen time and time again, and it makes me proud to serve this community."
The Hussels wanted to be sure to thank all those who helped and continue to help their family, including the Faith Viera Lutheran Church, Apostleship of the Sea Church in Cape Canaveral, Kiwanis Club of Cocoa Beach, Rotary Club of Rockledge, Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association, 10-13 Club: Brevard County Chapter, Florida Boy Shirts/Uniforms and the Hartungs family.
Baby Collin had a full feeding on June 26, but has since been equipped with a feeding tube.
"We go to the hospital every day, at least twice a day," Mr. Hussel said. "(The nurses) always give a good report, and he's doing better every day. They're also letting my wife do 'kangaroo care' with him, where you hold the baby skin to skin."
With such overwhelming support from the community, the Hussels time away from home has been much less scary, and said they owe it all to the kind hearts of the Space Coast.
"At this point, we can kind of sit back and laugh a little about it," Mr. Hussel said. "Everyone at home is joking around saying, we had a baby on our vacation, just to make it last longer."