Happy Valentine’s Day! Local couples share stories of how they met


Staff Reports

Today is Valentine’s Day.

For the second year in a row, we asked local couples to share stories of how they met.

Shane and Shawnee Brooks of Seymour

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I first met my wife, Shawnee, when I moved to Seymour in the seventh grade. She lived down the street from me, and we had several classes together. I became infatuated. She was and still is the prettiest girl I’d ever seen.

She would tell her sisters that “the annoying boy down the street won’t leave me alone.” I guess persistence pays off, and eventually, she let me be her boyfriend.

We had some up and down times through high school but always came back to each other. We’ve been together since junior year and have not looked back since.

Three kids and a lot of hair loss later and she’s still the one for me. It has been a fun 16 years, and I’m looking forward to the rest of my life with her.

Cindi and Brad Lucas of Seymour

Almost 20 years ago, I found myself single. My sister suggested I come to my niece’s softball game and check out the coach. I resisted, but eventually did go to a game and did take notice of the coach. It was firefighter Brad Lucas.

My sister had to leave town for a few days and asked me to deliver the fundraiser money to the coach. I’m pretty sure this was no accident. I had no way to contact this coach, but a story in The Tribune caught my attention. On the front page was a story titled “Some like it hot!” It was about the firefighters and particularly Brad. It told how they cook and live at the firehouse.

The story was the information I needed to track him down. I delivered the money, and we will celebrate our 20th anniversary this November.

Averie Brennan of Seymour and Evan Grider of North Vernon

My boyfriend and I first met on Facebook messenger back in 2019 around March or April, and we met through a mutual friend. That was the first time we dated, but it wasn’t for very long, which means that we didn’t meet in person yet.

We broke up because one of my exes came back into my life and I caught feelings for that ex again, which turned out to be a mistake — a big one at that.

Then we didn’t get back together until September 2019, and we have been together since that, and we’re still going strong. We finally met and saw each other in person for the first time in that month at a football game at Jennings County High School. We have been seeing each other and spending time together a lot since then.

His parents have been so nice and so generous to pick me up for the day and take me home at night when their son and I want to see each other and spend time together. We’re both very happy, and we couldn’t be any happier.

Kim and Nathan Beesley of Medora

When people ask how Nathan and I met or how we even came to know each other, I love to see and hear their reactions. They’re basically the same from everyone. We may not have had the normal (whatever normal is) love story, but this is ours, and it will always be to us the greatest love story this world has ever seen.

I’m from Nebraska, and he’s from Indiana, approximately 700 miles away, an 11ish-hour drive depending on how many stops you have to make. I have two boys, 22 and 25, and two granddaughters, 4 and 7. He has six kids, boys 15, 17 and 19 and girls 8, 10 and 22. Together, we have a blended family of eight hearts and 2 littles.

I just tell them that we met online and watch their faces for the reaction. Then the questions, “On a dating site?” “No, on Facebook.” “That’s ridiculous. You didn’t even know him. What if he would have killed you or kidnapped you?” “He wouldn’t,” I said. I knew.

We first began chatting June 21, 2017, just talking here and there, some short conversations, some long. Little did we know where this would take us. Dec. 28, 2017, was when we finally realized that this was the beginning of something new and amazing for the both of us.

On Jan. 7, 2018, the first of many I love yous were said. And for the record, Nathan said it first. I couldn’t wait to meet him. Plans were made for our first meeting. We were so excited.

It seemed like it took forever for the days to pass before the day came for me to actually leave to go and see him. We had decided it would probably be easier for me to drive as my schedule would permit me to be able to work around the days I needed off to drive and to be in Indiana. Also, I don’t mind driving long distances.

Feb. 9, 2018, was our first time meeting in Seymour. He was and is everything that I never knew I wanted or needed in my life. That day, I knew that I fell and just hoped that he would catch me. I know, so cliche.

That weekend, our relationship became official. We had tacos at Taqueria Morales. Little did I know at the time we would be eating there very often. We also went to Phat Guys to see Kill’n Smalls play. I also had the chance to meet two of his sons when we went to their basketball game at The Point. So much in one weekend. It was a great weekend. Leaving was hard. There were tears, and plans were made for the next visit.

The second visit was a month away. It seemed like forever. Between texts, phone calls and video chats, it seemed like we talked every second of the day. I was working nights at a memory care center in Lincoln, Nebraska, and he was working days at Celadon, so there was a block of time when we couldn’t talk at all. Plus, throw in the hour time difference, it was kind of rough sometimes.

The second visit was March 9 through 11, 2018. When I came to visit Nathan, his son also stayed the weekend, and we went to the basketball regional in Seymour, where I first learned who Romeo Langford was. We swam and went out for pizza and just hung out and talked all weekend when we weren’t watching basketball. Leaving to go back was just as hard.

On March 13, 2018, Nathan asked me to move to Indiana instead of driving back and forth all of the time. I was speechless for a minute, and that never happens, but that’s a huge thing. I said yes, but I still needed to process everything. I wanted nothing more than to be with him; however, that would mean leaving everyone and everything I’ve ever known behind — my entire safety net, my kids, my granddaughters, my family and friends, everything.

My third trip to Indiana was March 23, 2018. We went to an Indiana Pacers game. I was so excited. It was so much fun. This weekend ended up with me having a horrible migraine, so I stayed an extra night. I also met his parents this weekend. I was super nervous, but they were very nice. It was a very nice weekend minus the migraine. If I remember correctly, I went straight to the emergency room when I got home.

I had two more visits to Indiana. On one, I met two of his daughters, and we went bowling with his parents, looked at a couple of apartments and I started looking into jobs. On one visit, I had an interview; however, it was farther away than what I thought it would be, so I turned it down.

On May 5, 2018, Nathan asked me to marry him. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. Of course, I said yes.

May 18, 2018, was the day I moved from Syracuse, Nebraska, to Medora, Indiana. I was both scared and excited. I cried halfway to Indiana. Between calling my kids and mom and friends, I was just a mess. I was glad when it was time for Nathan to get off work so I could talk to him. It was just a huge leap for me. I knew what I wanted, except they were both in different directions. I knew my kids and granddaughters would be OK and I could always go and visit, and I knew if I didn’t come and at least see where this would go that I would always regret it.

On June 29, 2018, we got married. Just us and my mother- and father-in-law. Nothing fancy, but perfect for us.

There have been so many firsts for both of us, so many new things. Our marriage is still new to us, our love story is still unfolding and we can’t wait to see where it leads us. We understand that this isn’t a normal situation for everyone, but it just happened that everything fell into place for us. Like I said, our love story is unique, and we love to tell it. I think it’s beautiful.

The people that ask me questions the most always say that it was a huge gamble, a huge leap of faith. Maybe, but he caught me. We were sure. I had never been more sure of anything in my life. Was I nervous? Yep. But that wasn’t going to stop anything.

If you find that special person, no matter how it came to be, no matter the distance or the hurdles, don’t give up. Fight for your fairytale. Fight for your love story. We did, and it has been an amazing journey.

John and Amy Hiester of Seymour

As a newly single father of four children, I needed something to do on the weekends that my children were not with me.

All of my children had been swimmers at one time or another, and I was a swimmer in high school, so I continued to give back to the one sport that saves lives by teaching children to swim.

I had been a swim official for local and regional swim meets for several years, including the Seymour Pepsi Plunge, but March 2009 took me to Newburgh High School to be the meet referee for a divisional swim meet.

It was my first time as the lead official at a higher-level meet, and I was communicating with an amazing meet director, Amy, in preparation for the event. She was organized, responsive and communicated everything so I was completely at ease going into the weekend.

When I arrived, Amy, her husband and her crew of swim parents welcomed me with great hospitality and did everything that was asked of them with smiles on their faces. It was a great experience in every way.

On my drive home through a winter storm, among my prayers were my safety, my children’s health and for God to lead a woman into my life just like Amy who could be my wife and a bonus mom for my children.

I worked with Amy at the same annual meet for the next several years, and each meet was better than the prior one. Then the meet went to another location where I worked with a different team of families. Our paths only crossed several times as I saw Amy and her family at meets in the stands and they waved a friendly hello to check in with me.

Fast forward to March 2016, and I was back at the Newburgh pool with a different meet director and team of swim families. This was the eighth time I was acting as meet referee at this particular meet, and I was relying on muscle memory as I headed into the weekend.

For some reason, I was not as excited going into this meet as I had been in the past, and I was leaning on my experience to get me through it. I arrived at the pool and was greeted by the new meet director as I got settled into the venue.

About an hour earlier, I hear a familiar voice say, “Hi, John.” I turned around and saw a lady at a table who looked somewhat familiar, although I could not figure out who it was immediately, and then it came to me.

“Amy! You look different. What’s new?” She replied, “My hair is darker, it’s longer and I’m divorced.” My heart skipped a few beats as I needed to figure out this situation.

The next three days, Amy sat beside me by the pool and we talked and got caught up on both of our lives and our families. To be totally honest, I was there in body only as my well-trained team of officials took charge of the pool while we flirted from the first swim to the last splash. Amy had a list and ranking of a few men she was dating and talking to at the time, and I wanted to get on the list.

By the end of the weekend, I was on the list, but she wouldn’t go out to dinner with me before I headed back home. We talked later that night for a couple of hours and every night that week. We went out to dinner that Thursday night at Irish Lion in Bloomington for our first date, and then worked another swim meet together that weekend.

Amy and I were almost inseparable after that. We got engaged at Irish Lion that September and were married in Florida on the beach the following April.

Thank God for doing more than just answering prayers and joining our hearts. Swimming saves lives for teaching children to swim and bringing people together.

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