Local couples share stories of how they met

(ROCKWALL, TX – Jan. 28, 2016) Editor’s Note: Each year around Valentine’s Day, Blue Ribbon News asks local couples how they met. Their stories are often sweet, funny and surprising. Sharing their tales of true love has become one of our favorite traditions – and one of our most wildly popular features.

(And in case you’re wondering how my husband and I met, I’ve been talked into re-telling our story at the end of this feature.)

Jeremy Neill & Erin Atkins 

Photo by Angela Orr, Shakeup Snow Photo

Jeremy and I originally met on match.com. After exchanging messages we met for a drink at Samee’s Pizza Getti. Weeks later, we ran into each other again – this time at a Chamber event to introduce the new Leadership Rockwall class. Jeremy and I had both been selected to participate in the program.

We got to know each other while researching projects for our class. He asked me out again, but since he was recently divorced, I told him I thought it would be best if he were single for a year before we started dating. Jeremy ended up taking a job in Longview and moving back to East Texas. We remained friends as I kept him in the loop about Leadership.

As the one year mark approached I began to realize how much I cared for him. I told him I was ready to start dating. We made plans for our “official” first date June 15, 2014 – lunch and mountain biking at Squabble Creek. We’ve been inseparable ever since.

Jeremy and I talked about getting married. I told him that I really wanted to get married at this little church inArkansas, Gar Creek that my family attended over 100 years ago. Records show my third great grandparents were baptized there in 1892. Jeremy suggested we plan a trip to go see the church around the time we wanted to get married. There is a huge magnolia tree next to the church and we wanted to see if it was blooming that time of year. Once we got there we walked around the grounds while we waited for the church key. Jeremy seemed nervous but I thought it was because he didn’t like the church. Then he got down on one knee and asked me to come back a year from now and marry him. We will marry on May 14, 2016.

Submitted by Erin Atkins, Principal Agent/Agency Owner of Hanby Insurance. Jeremy is Vice President at Bancorp South.

David & Kim Sweet

Even though Kim and I had been around each other from elementary school all the way through middle school, we never met. Kim and I met later through a mutual couple who had just had a baby.

I stopped by their house to pick up my friend to go to a football game the day they came home from the hospital; needless to say Kim was not impressed with me.

Fast forward a few months and the same friend and I were managing a co-ed softball team. Every week it took me two days to find enough girls to field the team. After weeks of anguish my friend told me he had a permanent solution to my problem – Kim. After two seasons of softball we were great friends and I was smitten. Anytime Kim was at our friend’s house I would go to great lengths to have a reason to be over there. I even pretended to work on her mother’s car which had broken down, just to be around her. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not mechanically inclined. Kim never caught on.

Finally on July 4, 2000 Kim told me that one day I would find someone! Needless to say we had our very first kiss later that night, engaged five months later and married February 9, 2001. We will celebrate 15 years this year. We are the proud parents of two incredible boys, Austin and Brody.

Submitted by David Sweet, Rockwall County Judge. Kim Sweet serves as Rockwall County Tax Assessor.

Lloyd & Toni Waldrop

Lloyd and I were longtime friends before we ever began dating. What attracted me most was his smile. He had a pawnshop inDallascalled TJ’s where he worked with his father in the 80’s. I was in town and stopped in for a visit. I will never forget how he greeted me warmly over the showcase, smiling. I knew instantly he was a good man.

We had mutual friends and would do things as a group. One day a mutual friend came by and I told him I was going through a divorce, not knowing Lloyd was, too. Soon after that, Lloyd and I started sharing our goals in life and forming a bond like no other.

My first marriage was rocky; I married young. The best blessings I received from that marriage are my two children Jared and Katie. Lloyd had two daughters of his own as well, Molly and Marcena. We were able to blend our families together the best we could.

Times were tough but we got through them. God has blessed us with our business and we are now able to give back to the community. Lloyd and I love to travel when we are able. Lloyd is an avid golfer when he can get away. We love to sit outside and talk about our day. He always treats me to the best dining and the things I never had before. Material things do not make your marriage perfect by any means. I am thankful for the simpler things in life as well. Every now and then he surprises me with a gift. We enjoy our dogs, too. I am truly blessed and ready for what this year brings.

Submitted by Toni Waldrop. She and Lloyd own Rockwall Gold & Silver Pawn.

Preston & Victoria Wells

On December 14th, 2013 I auditioned for the part of Catherine Simms in the production of The Foreigner at Rockwall Community Playhouse. That was the first time I had ever seen my now husband Preston Wells. I thought he was handsome but didn’t think anything else of it.

That night I got a call from the director Felicia Sykes that I had been cast; we would have a read through at her house two days later. On the 16th I arrived at her house only to findPrestonhad been cast as my brother, Ellard. That night I could have sworn thatPrestonhated me for some reason due to the stares he gave me.

After the new year, we began rehearsals for the play and that is when I made it my mission to get to know this quiet, handsome stranger. It wasn’t easy at all, let me tell you! I think breaking intoFt.Knoxmight have been easier. After weeks of interrogation,Prestonand I became close.

February 18, 2014 we had our first date. I remember calling my mom afterward and telling her I was in trouble. After about two months I knewPrestonwould be the man I would marry and spend the rest of my life with. Thank God he felt the same way!

December 3, 2014Prestonsurprised me and asked me to be his wife. The best day of my life was when I married my best friend and the man of my dreams on August 22, 2015 by the lady who introduced us, Felicia. I look forward to a lifetime of happiness, love, goofiness, and theatre drama with you, Puddin’. Love you more.

Submitted by Victoria Wells, hair stylist at Jour Salon and Spa. Preston works at his mother’s flower shop, Lakeside Florist (and he’s the twin brother of Blue Ribbon News staff writer Austin Wells!)

Tyler & Tammy Mancuso

We met our 10th grade year in high school. I was a transfer andTyler was the most popular guy boy in school! He asked me to the first dance after the football game and of course I said YES! We were kids and it soon came to an end; however we always remained best friends.

After graduation, we drifted apart both working full time while attending college and in other relationships. One day we ran into each other and hadn’t realized that we had each moved out of parents’ homes and lived down the street from one another. We always seemed to find each other at the same places, events, and stores. As we rekindled our friendship and spent almost every day together, we finally realized how much our friendship had found true love – or was it because of true love that we became best friends!

We decided the best thing to do would be to get married and that we did, in July 1991. We moved all over and landed in Rockwall for the last 10 years. We currently own and operate a local painting company. We are proud to say that we are still best friends as we work together and play together. He is still my true love and high school sweetheart! July 2016 we’ll celebrate 25 years of marriage and we are very thankful and proud to be able to say that.

Submitted by Tammy Mancuso. She and Tyler own CertaPro Painters in Rockwall.

Russ & Karen Porter

Karen and I have both been musicians are entire lives. We grew up near each other in Arkansas and had both been involved in high school All-State band and choir, but our paths didn’t cross until college.

When I was a freshman music major at Ouachita Baptist University, Karen was a sophomore. She was the most outstanding pianist on our campus, and accompanied for various choral groups and soloists. Everyone knew her. She had a boyfriend at the time, so I figured the only way I could get her attention would be to date her roommate.

When we returned to school the following year, I ran into Karen almost immediately. I asked her about her boyfriend and she quickly told me that she was “free!” And before I could ask her on a date, she asked me to a Sadie Hawkins event. After that, it still took me awhile to get the courage to ask her on a date. But before long, I had swept her off her cute piano bench. And after nine months of dating I asked her to marry me.

This year we will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. We moved to Rockwall 12 years ago when our love of music and empty-nester season of life set us on a new adventure as owners of the Rockwall School of Music. We’ve been blessed with two children, a daughter-in-law and a grandson.

Submitted by Russ Porter, Director at Rockwall School of Music and Ambassador for the Arts.

Logan and Catherine Thomas

Logan and I met working at Albertson’s grocery store inGarland. I was an assistant front end manager and he was a bagger. His mother died in a car accident shortly after we met. My heart just ached for him. We started talking and spending time together. It only lasted a few months and then we went our separate ways. I moved back toWest Texasvery soon afterwards.

Four years ago on a trip to Dallas to buy my daughter some American Girl dolls, I had drinks with an old friend. As we reminisced about old times and people, I thought ofLoganand wondered what he was up to. A few weeks later on a sleepless night I looked him up on Facebook and found him. I sent him a message and he responded a few days later. I received his message while sitting in a hospital with my daddy, who passed away that week.

Things progressed very quickly from there. He was really there for me when I needed him most! My mom also passed away that year but not before Logan and I were married by the JP to give her peace of mind that he would take care of my daughters. I’ve often said it was the best and worst year of my life!

Catherine and Logan live in Royse City.

Bryan and Jennifer Munson

Now I am a sucker for someone who can make me laugh and my amazing husband, Bryan, did just that the first night we met. We had run in the same big crowd for all four years of our undergrad at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, but had never met until that night. There were no expectations because we were out in a large group of mutual friends. We just sat and talked and laughed all evening.

Most girls would probably have been turned off at his stories about crazy ex-girlfriends, but not me; I encouraged him to share even more. By the end of the evening my stomach hurt from laughing, my eye makeup was ruined and I wanted nothing more than to be the next “crazy” one.

We hung out the entire summer as friends but I was ready for him to ask me out. When that didn’t happen I tricked him into a date. We made a bet I knew I would lose so that finally we could go to a movie on our own. Bryan STILL didn’t seem to get the hint.

Finally, on his birthday in September, three long months after we met, I just laid it all out there. And what do you know…

This June it will be 20 years since we met and finally began dating and Bryan has made me laugh every one of our nearly 7,000 days together. My boys and I could not ask for more.

Submitted by Jennifer Munson, teacher at Cain Middle School. Bryan is an engineer with Verizon.

Bill & Bonnie LaVielle

I was raised in Dodge City, Kansas and my Dad was a pastor of a Baptist Church there.  My mom was a singer, so all six of us kids sang at churches in the area.

When I was 12, my sisters and I were singing at a church that our uncle pastored inElkhart, and I saw a really cute boy sitting in the audience. I kept smiling at him and I thought he was smiling at me. I later found out he was smiling at my sister Becky.

Well, several years went by and I would see Bill at Church camps and kind of flirt with him, but he still had eyes for my sister. I don’t know what happened one summer, but he started noticing me. Of course I couldn’t date until I was 16, so when I could start dating Bill would drive two hours each way to see me. We date all through high school and college and got married after his college graduation.

We will have been married 40 years on June 4 of this year. We have four children and 10 grandchildren. I married the love of my life and have loved every minute of it!

Richard & Dawn Redig

I met Richard in 1987, when he dialed the wrong number. I’m convinced I was meant to answer that call.

I had just moved to Rockwall after graduating fromLamarUniversityinBeaumont, leaving behind my job at the college newspaper and local television station. While searching for my dream job, I took a position as a receptionist at an executive suite leasing office in downtownDallas, answering phones for a handful of tenants who, for the most part, were never there.

For whatever reason, our phone lines were crossed with the Dallas County Courthouse that day, and dozens of calls were being routed to my switchboard by mistake.

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I grew restless and bored – so I decided to amuse myself by placing the callers on hold and forcing them to listen to country music.

Occasionally I’d pick up the line and sing Hank Williams Jr’s “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down,”and then I’d place the callers back on hold without giving them a chance to speak. It didn’t take long for them to hang up.

But not Richard. He held for nearly 45 minutes. Now why would anybody do that?

Turns out it was so he could ask me to dinner. (Apparently he was amazed that I knew the words to every Bocephus song ever written. And by the way, that’s the closest Richard has ever gotten to liking country music.)

We exchanged home phone numbers and talked for days and nights on end. Two weeks later, he showed up at my door to take me on a blind date. He treated me to dinner and dancing, then proposed to me on Christmas morning. We’ve been married 26 years.

Shared by Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News editor. Richard handles advertising and marketing at BRN Media.

Back by popular demand! 

Lovebirds from our 2015 Valentine’s issue





Lovebirds from our 2014 and 2013 Valentine’s issues





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