(WSVN) - Curley’s was cooking, 31 years of frying bacon and eggs for the people of Opa Locka.

Ernest Hill, Curley’s Restaurant: “Great, 31 years greatness.”

Customers kept Curley’s grill going, ’til the government tried to put the fire out.

Patrick Fraser: “So DERM says this building doesn’t exist?”

Ernest Hill: “It doesn’t exist at all.”

It turns out, the City of Opa Locka never notified DERM when the restaurant opened back in 1990, meaning the grease trap was never approved. Now, it has to be up to 2021 codes.

Ernest Hill: “I can’t afford to put a new grease trap and do all these repairs. That’s not needed.”

Curley’s appeared doomed, then our story aired.

Ernest Hill: “So amazing! People just reached out to help Curley’s, and I’m so grateful for that.”

Donors gave more than $16,000 to a GoFundMe they saw on Help Me Howard.

Several engineers volunteered to draw up the plans for the grease trap requirements, and one has already done it.

Ernest Hill: “And I want to thank the people and the kindness of strangers. It was just overwhelming.”

Ernest is now repainting and renovating Curley’s. A few weeks ago he thought he would be closing down. Not anymore.

Ernest Hill: “Curley’s will be back stronger and better with another 31 years of goodnes.”

Curley’s is hot again.

Horizon Group Home needed to be cool for Hilda and the boys.

Amy O’Donnell, son lives in home: “This is a labor of love. Hilda loves these kids.”

Hilda runs a group home caring for Amy’s son and five other mentally handicapped children. The children bring her satisfaction. A generator company brought her frustration.

Hilda Ortega, runs group home: “I tried to talk to the owner, and he never returned my phone calls.”

A new state law requires facilities like this to have a generator in case the power goes out.

Hilda used her credit card and donations from parents to pay for it. That was 16 months ago.

Amy O’Donnell: “We have waited. We’ve heard excuses after excuses.”

The generator company missed the state deadline, meaning the group home would be fined $1,000 a day.

Hilda told us she couldn’t afford that, the group home would have to shut down and the boys sent to other homes.

Amy O’Donnell:”It’s frightening. It’s scary. It’s unbelievable.”

After we spoke to the company they installed the generator, but to meet city requirements, and the soaring cost of generator equipment, Hilda needed $9,000 more.

Amy O’Donnell: “It would be it would be a miracle if we can raise that.”

Our Help Me Howard story aired. You can call it a miracle, Amy.

Amy O’Donnell: “Yeah, totally. Totally surprised me.”

Help Me Howard viewers donated $11,000 to the home’s GoFundMe page, and a woman gave Hilda a $7,000 check for the group home. A total of $18,000 donated to the boys.

Amy O’Donnell: “I’m amazed and grateful and thankful that there’s so many generous people out there.”

That’s more money than Hilda needed. She isn’t keeping the extra donations though. She is going to do something unusual for the boys, take them on a little vacation.

Amy O’Donnell: “There are good people out there and people want to help, especially a good cause like the children of the group.”

The people of South Florida helped keep the group homes stay open, and the boys wanted to say thanks to all of us.

Amy O’Donnell: “And if I could present this card as a thank you to you and to be shared online to all the donors?”

Patrick Fraser: “Oh wow. Very nice. That is so sweet. Thank you.”

Amy O’Donnell: “Thank you so much. God bless you. Thank you.”

We are so lucky to be able to help so many people, and so lucky so many wonderful people in South Florida are kind and generous. This card from the boys, is yours.

Thank you all for helping Curley’s and the group home.

A problem left you feeling like you are toast? Don’t let them grill you! Egg us on and let us serve up a solution.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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