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Vote for Your Favorite KNUE ‘Love Is In The Air’ Story [POLL]

With Valentine’s Day upon us, we at 101.5 KNUE wanted to hear some great stories from our listeners about how they fell in love with their significant other. After receiving dozens of fantastic stories, we were finally able to get down to the final five. Now, it’s the real hard part, because it’s up to you to vote for the winner.

Read each of the five stories and at the end, vote in the poll to decide which couple you think should win KNUE’s “Love Is In The Air” Valentine’s Day contest. The deadline to vote is 5 p.m. Friday, so get your vote in now! Amy Austin will announce the winner at 10 a.m. Monday on 101.5 KNUE, and we’ll do the same here on KNUE.com.

The winning couple will receive: a $1,000 gift card from Elliott’s Jewelers in Tyler, a day at the spa from Belladonna Day Spa in Tyler and a romantic night on the town with a limousine from Classic Coach & Carriage at their disposal.

The night on the town also will include a romantic dinner at Jakes Tyler on the square in Downtown Tyler.

Without further adieu, here are the five finalists. Happy voting!

 

Candace and Paul Hightower

My name is Candace Skinner-Hightower, and my husband is Paul Hightower. Our story goes a little something like this. I met Paul in 2010 when I moved back to Texas to be with my sick mother. I didn’t come back to meet people or to fall in love, but I did, and I’m glad I did. I’m a full-time college student and I was taking care of my mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, but over the past year they told my mother that she had Stage 4 cancer and there wasn’t much they could do for her, so to enjoy the time she had. My husband is a firefighter for the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department, where my mother was president of the Mabank FD auxiliary. As my mother got weaker, Paul came around more to keep her company as well as anything she needed to be done. The more and more Paul came around, the more I warmed to him, not looking to start a relationship, just good friends. It had been several months and one night under the carport I asked Paul if I could kiss him, and of course he said yes. It wasn’t but a couple of months since we started to see each other in a different way before my mother passed away in May of 2011. Paul was there by my side holding me up, and to this day my loving, wonderful husband whom I married on October 1, 2011, is still there holding me up and keeping me going. We now have a little baby boy to share our beautiful story with — and the story of my mother, whom I later found out was trying to set me up with Paul. To win this contest for my husband who has been so strong and loving thru everything we’ve been through, would help me to tell him how much he means to me. He’s my rock and teddy bear all rolled into one.

 

Holli and Dustin Hammett

February 1, 2009, was my friend Ambers birthday. Her and other friends were out celebrating and called me numerous times to get me to come out. They kept telling me over and over about this hot guy and that we would hit it off. I chose not to go out and stayed home. I never knew the guy’s name or anything about him. My name is Holli and i’m an ortho-trauma nurse at East Texas Medical Center here in Tyler. On November 12, 2009, Dustin was in a near-fatal motorcycle wreck and ended up in our hospital. He spent a month in the hospital and I took care of him. We were attracted to one another and shared a connection that I can’t explain, and this was the start of a beautiful friendship. While a patient in the hospital, he mourned the anniversary of his dad’s death from 2008. Jim, his dad, was in an explosion at Delek Refinery. I helped him through this and we began getting closer each day. We never acted upon anything at that time. We exchanged numbers and our friendship grew. He was discharged home and we began seeing each other. I decided not to tell anyone yet. From Dec. 27, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010, we were in South Padre Island bringing in the New Year and our new relationship. While there we decided to post pictures on Facebook and basically let friends know we were together. At 2:30 a.m., I recieved a call from my friend Amber, who lives in Wisconsin. She told me, “Oh my God, that’s the same guy we wanted you to meet when you didn’t come out for my birthday.” I told her how we met with his accident and ending up on my unit. Our relationship grew fast, we fell in love, and Dustin proposed. How he proposed was pretty cool I will save that for another time. On July 23,2010 Dustin and I were married in South Padre Island.

 

Brittany and Justin DeMarre

When I was 14 years old living in Michigan, I decided to save my first kiss for the man I would marry. Little did I know an 18-year-old man, never-been-kissed, was halfway around the globe in Malayasia praying for his future wife. Four years and much rejection later (apparently people don’t want to date you if you aren’t ready to make out) I met the most GORGEOUS MAN I HAD EVER SEEN.  He was six-feet-two with intense, bright-blue eyes and dark brown hair and broad shoulders. Unfortunately, he had a girlfriend and I was leaving for Fiji. We exchanged e-mail addresses as friends and I was wistful, knowing he was the perfect gentleman and everything I wanted in a man, but he was taken. Two months later I happened to e-mail him, having heard that he and his girlfriend had separated. He had moved to Africa for missions and I had moved back home to Michigan. For two years we e-mailed infrequently, about every two or three months.  Throughout the long Michigan winters I would meet other guys and in the back of my mind see a vision of the handsome man in Hawaii that I just knew I would never see again.  Every other man fell short and I was convinced I would end up alone. In 2004, I was reading my Bible and realized I didn’t understand a thing I was reading. I decided to attend School of the Bible with Youth With A Mission in Texas to learn more about the original context of Scripture. My best friend Brooke and I packed up my little two-door Toyota Corolla and headed south. The day after we arrived in Texas we were enjoying coffee at Starbucks when Brooke exclaimed, “Wow there’s a hot guy sitting outside all by himself!” I followed her gaze and noted the tall figure, the same sandals I had seen in Hawaii, the same dark hair, head bent to intently study his paperwork, and I knew. “That’s Justin DeMarre!” I exclaimed. “Let’s go sit outside!” We walked out the door and into the sunshine, and Justin totally did a double-take when he saw me. It turned out he was living two doors down from me on the school campus and we had no idea we had both moved to Texas. Ten months later we shared our first kiss ever, ending our famine, and one year later we were married on December 17.  Six years have passed and we are expecting our first child, a son, and we are more in love than we were after we met for the second time.  He is everything I hoped for in a man.  He is always thinking of ways to care for me and show his love for me and I could not have asked for a better husband or a better first kiss.

 

Sherry and Danny Hussey

On September 6, 2004, I was sitting outside the store I managed. One of my regular customers and I were talking. A guy I had never seen walked up and began talking to my customer. Well, the conversation with my customer continued and this guy was just standing there looking at me. I was not dressed to meet anyone LOL! I had really cruddy clothes on and my hair was a mess. Towards the end of the conversation, the guy says “would you go on ride with me?” (We had been talking about motorcycles.). I immediately said “Sure!” The funny part about that was that I had two rules when dating. No soldiers, no motorcycles. Guess what? I broke both rules that night. A week later on Sept 11, 2004 we went out on our first date. It hasn’t ever ended. We’ve been married for 6 years, 9 months, and 11 days. We’ve endured three year long deployments. In April of 2007, my husband went to work one day and never came home. A different person came home in his body. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in the course of a combatives training course. For the next year, I would work to teach him things he already knew but could not recall. He couldn’t remember playing putt-putt with the kids or their birthdays or, sometimes, even how to get home. We moved to Ft. Campbell KY in February of 2008.  Despite his brain injury, the decision to deploy him was made. On March 19, 2008 he went on his third deployment. Through the year, I had to be right there for every call. It was his worst deployment, depression, PTSD, and the TBI all combined were very hard for him to deal with. Every day, I spent every minute he had available telling him how wonderful he is, how proud I am of him, how much I love him, and how much I need him no matter what. In January of 2009, he was demoted because his injuries were too much for him to deal with in a war zone. He called me completely broken, telling me he was a failure. It was the hardest phone call I’ve ever received. I spent nearly three hours on our cell phones telling him how much of a wonderful man he is. He came home in March of 2009. At that time I began really pushing to get him treatment for the PTSD and the brain injury. I had to battle doctors who didn’t want me there at all. Finally, he was sent to the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic on Post. Together we did all the exercises. I went with him to every single appointment and I became the glue that kept him together. In 2010 he deployed again. This time the deployment was harder on me than him. My daughter had the worst time with this deployment. One night, he called home and I was hysterical. Things had happened and I needed him. He had been up for 72 hours at that point and had been on a rough mission, but he sat on the phone for his hour then went outside and got back in line to call me again. For 6 hours he did this until I felt like I could breathe. He told me that night he thought it best that I take the kids and come to East Texas where my parents are. In November he came home and spent his R&R moving me and the kids to Texas. In August of 2011 he came home finally. This time for good. Because of his brain injury and subsequent demotion, the Army was letting him out. They no longer needed him. He was discharged on Oct. 11, 2011 with an Honorable Discharge. Now we are in East Texas and no matter how tight money is, or how hard things are for us right now, we spend every day laughing and thanking God that we are together. There is no one else for me. He is my everything and I am his everything.

Greg and Tonya Hammonds

My name is Greg, and this is my story with Tonya. It actually begins back on July 2, 1988, at a fireworks stand in our hometown of Mount Pleasant.  That was the first time I stared into those amazing green eyes framed by that blazing red hair. For the first time, I was in love. I was the high school football jock, and she was the cute little rocker chick with torn jeans. I was also a secret geek, with posters of the space shuttle on my wall instead of the usual decorations teenage boys have. We dated for most of the next two years and when I graduated, I learned I had received a  scholarship to an out of state school. Tonya didn’t want to be the girl waiting back home, and I didn’t want her to miss the experience of her last two years of high school, so I let her walk away. Many tears were shed as I drove away at the end of the summer of 1990. By the time I returned, it was too late. She had started a new life and I thought she had forgotten about me. I moved to Dallas and started a new life. For the next 20 years, I hid behind a mask pretending I was where I wanted to be, forgetting who I was, and losing my roots. I never forgot her, never lost those feelings. When I would hear our song on the radio, I was with her again. People say you never forget your first love, I believe you never lose your first love. Less than a week after I separated from a long marriage, I was sitting in my neighborhood bar in Denton doing homework on my laptop, of course with Facebook open also. Suddenly a post catches my attention and I look closer. Staring back at me are those green eyes I had stared into for so many long summer nights. Memories flooded back into me of sitting on the hood of my Camaro and kissing those lips while Warrant’s “Heaven” played on the radio. I clicked on comment and simply replied,  ”How you doin’?” Several Facebook messages later I found out Tonya was recently single and was coming to Six Flags that next Friday with her daughter, which happened to be my day off from work. Plans were made, and by the time we quit talking on the phone at 4 a.m. that next morning, I knew there was something happening. We spent every night that week talking on the phone until the wee hours of the morning. I knew that I had never stopped loving her, and that Friday couldn’t come fast enough, but it finally did. It was Oct. 29, 2010. I arrived early and she got stuck in Dallas traffic and was about an hour late. That gave me time to plan my attack. By the time she walked through the gate, the Six Flags picture guy was ready. He walked up to her and asked her to come with him and while he distracted Tonya, I snuck up behind her. When she turned around, it was like slow motion. I looked into those eyes, no words were spoken, and for the first time in over 20 years I felt those lips on mine. The world stopped for those few seconds and for that moment, that moment that you wait for your entire life, everything was right. The guys on the stage congratulated us over the loud speakers, the camera guy took pictures and all the people I had been talking to while I was waiting for her cheered. My first love was in my arms again. We started the long-distance relationship, but we were empty when we were apart, so she moved to Denton a month later, and she helped me to remove that mask I had been wearing for so many years. Every day when I would come home from work, I would text, “Heaven isn’t too far away.” That next April, I schemed with a friend who does the jumbotron interviews at Texas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR races. Right before the race started, we were “randomly” picked to be interviewed on the Jumbotron.  As we stood on the start/finish line, I took the microphone and turned to her. I was nervous as I have ever been in my entire life.  I stuttered through what I wanted to say and was able to get enough out. I dropped to my knee and asked the first love of my life, to be my last love. The stadium erupted when she said YES! This July 2, 24 years to the day we first met, Tonya will become my wife.  Now we are making up for so many years we lost, and enjoying life the way life is supposed to be. We have returned to Mt. Pleasant, rented us a little house in the country and enjoy sitting on the porch in the morning sharing coffee with each other.

Thanks for voting. We’ll announce the winner Monday morning. Share with your friends and get as many votes as possible!

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