We love stories from our veterans. Most of these stories focus on military life – during peacetime or war. The best stories tug on our heartstrings, evoke strong emotions, and leave us wanting more.
Deployments, temporary duty assignments, and training all provide opportunities for such stories, especially stories on “how I met your mother (or father).” The following stories of couples reveal the circumstances of their meeting, attracted them to one another, and what has helped them maintain their relationships over time. The common thread is that opportunity and chance brought them together.
A life-saving service creates a life-loving couple
Mike and Sasha met while serving together for the Coast Guard in Kodiak, Alaska. They quickly became friends and both received orders to California on the same base. There, they began dating, got engaged and were married. But serving together is no easy task. Mike was assigned to a cutter (large ship) while Sasha was working at the base.
“While I was underway during a rainy January, our apartment wall had a leak, my wife (Sasha) and one-year-old son, were having trouble getting the landlord to fix the issue,” Mike said. “I was lucky enough to be on a port call in San Diego and my command allowed me to fly home during the weekend to deal with the situation.
Long story short, because of that leaky wall and frustrating landlord, nine months later, Sasha and I were blessed with our second child.” Today, Mike is still on active duty orders while Sasha separated from the Coast Guard and used her Post 9/11 GI Bill to obtain her Master’s degree and take care of their growing family.
For love of the great outdoors
It’s been 57 years since Bill and Mavis met at a dance. They quickly discovered they shared a love of the outdoors. After marriage, this love led them to open a children’s summer camp. “The summer camp was our outing,” said Bill, a veteran of both the Army and Air Force. “Mavis kept working … but she would help put the programs together, and she would meet me and the kids on the weekends.” Fortunately, for them, she did the cooking. Over the years, they introduced many to their shared love of nature. To this day, they are still in love with each other and the great outdoors.
The eyes have it
Lisa and Lori, both retired officers from the National Guard, first met at a maintenance conference in Denver, Colorado, and then again in early 2008 in preparation for a deployment. “In 2008, there was a deployment going to Kosovo and we started training around October, getting ready to leave in November,” said Lisa. “The chief of staff of the mission called and asked me to be a sponsor for an Alaskan officer who was flying in.” It was Lisa’s responsibility to introduce Lori to the command and the unit before they deployed.
“When I actually fell for Lisa was the first day that we met at Camp Roberts in the parking lot to go to breakfast,” said Lori. “I knew. The situation wasn’t anything special, it was just me.” For Lisa, falling in love with Lori was more subtle. “When she (Lori) left to Kosovo, it hurt,” said Lisa. “It hurts when someone you connect with leaves. Even when you are deployed with someone and they leave first, you lose that connection.”
Lisa continues to love Lori’s eyes and how she goes out of her way to take care of people and ensure they feel special. For Lori, the way Lisa cares for her, veterans, the elderly, and her leadership are among the things that keep their lives interesting.
Oh, the way he irons
Sandy had to visit her local bank to care for some financial obligations. That’s where she met Dick, a Navy veteran, … through a mutual friend who worked at the bank. “She was the matchmaker.” It took a while for them to close the deal. “We went together for quite a while, said Sandy. “He (Dick) had a sister that helped us move it along.”
Their relationship stood the test of distance, as they attended different colleges in the east coast. Upon graduating, they married and headed to California for graduate school. What has kept the flames of love going for Dick and Sandy is learning to accept their unique talents. “My favorite thing about him (Dick) … is the way he irons!” Sandy said, laughing. “He is very outgoing and knows most everything!” Their personal gain has led to 55 years of compounded interests, one being their son who is a chaplain in the Navy.
Stephanie to the 2nd power
Meeting at a party or at a bar is a common “how we met” story. For Stephanie and Stephanie, it was both. “We met at a bar … that just doesn’t sound right,” said Stephanie1, a Navy veteran. “We actually met through a mutual friend, at a party, that was at a bar, owned by another mutual friend of ours.”
It wasn’t long before they discovered they had more in common than their first names. “We quickly discovered we both had siblings named ‘Chris’, both born on May 2 (different years), both of their first cars were Chevettes that had the same issue with the brake lights not coming on, then both of our mothers sharing the name ‘Diane’, and a bunch of other similarities,” said Stephanie2, a National Guard veteran with the counter-drug program.
Stephanie1 and Stephanie2 continue to surprise and impress each other through each step of their lives. “I think it’s pretty safe to say that it was love at first sight,” said Stephanie2.
An odd pickup line that led to marriage
“I was having my sandwich and sitting on the stairs of the library,” said Pat. “This man came by and said, ‘Do you know that a man can live on one egg a day’? So, I invited him to join me and he said again, ‘Man can live on one egg a day.’ It was the strangest pickup line I have ever heard. So I married him!”
Recently separated from the Marine Corps, Ron decided to use the GI Bill at Marin County Junior College. Pat and Ron started dating and married shortly after his famous pickup line. “She chased me around a while until I finally gave in,” Ron laughed. Pat still gushes over him. They have been “together for a long, long time.” Long enough to enjoy children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They reside at the Yountville Veterans Home, laugh together, and poke fun at each other as often as possible.
The relationships formed throughout our lives are vital for building our character. Love enhances your character, whether you are a veteran, active duty service member, or family member. Show your loved ones you appreciate them as these stories have.
Happy Valentine’s Day!