Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14 and love is in the air.readers share love stories

In the spirit of the season, Ark City Daily Bytes asked readers to share their own real-life love stories.

Whether it was friendship, football or school that brought them together, these couples’ tales are sure to delight.

Matt and Lindsay (Ramirez) Allen

On Feb. 5, 2012, the New England Patriots were beaten by the upstart New York Giants in an epic Super Bowl that many NFL fans will remember forever.

Matt Allen will remember it as the day he and Lindsay Ramirez met for the first time.

Drawn together by a fortuitous encounter on a Christian dating website, neither actually thought there would be a connection between them, yet each was optimistic about the possibility. Because they were separated by 50 miles, their first date almost never happened.

Lindsay fired the first shot in a brief message: “I like what you wrote about yourself! God Bless!”

Matt saw she lived too far away. As he composed a dismissive reply — thanking her, but looking for a closer relationship — something stopped him.

Even then, he knew it was a nudge from God. So instead of finishing that reply, he gave her a phone call.

“The connection was instantaneous!” said Matt Allen. “A week of phone calls gave way to that first date — lunch, bowling and the Super Bowl.”

Five years later, the Patriots once again were in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5. This time, they won in the most unlikely comeback in NFL history.

Matt and Lindsay just smile when they think about it: How improbable that God drew Matt from California out to Kansas to meet the best friend of his life.

Lindsay now teaches at a community college and Matt is a youth pastor. They will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary Nov. 10, but both will remember Feb. 5, 2012, as the day that God brought them together and blessed their lives forever.

Josh and Lindsay Jean Hawkins

“I reported to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in late 2008,” said Josh Hawkins. “I had met a few friends while in processing to my new duty station.”

After a few months passed, Hawkins was training with his new unit and had become friends with some of the other men.

“One day, a buddy I had met at replacement told me he needed a ride to go get his laptop fixed, so I took him to the base PX (Post Exchange),” he said.

There was a small computer place called PZ Tech and it was there he met Lindsay.

“She was working behind the counter and my buddy noticed I was flirting with her while he was trying to talk about the repairs his laptop needed,” Josh said.

“We left because the parts needed would take some time to get there. A week later, we went back and I was flirting with her again.”

This annoyed his friend, especially since Hawkins still hadn’t asked for her number.

“We left after dropping off his laptop, (but) a few days later we went back and, like before, I was flirting with Lindsay,” Josh said.

“My buddy had had enough and loudly proclaimed, ‘Dude, just ask for her number already!’ Embarrassed, I didn’t know what to say, (but) she then wrote her number on a slip of paper and handed it to me while laughing.”

Josh and Lindsay started seeing each other and about a year after they first met, while he was home on leave from Afghanistan, they were married in Las Vegas.

“Little did we know, a month later I would be returning home on a Medevac flight,” said Hawkins, who ended up having one leg amputated at the knee.

“I called her from the hospital in Germany and offered her an out, because I wasn’t going to be walking for a long time or be the same. She called me stupid. She took care of me when I first came home and took me to my medical appointments.”

“We have been married now for almost seven years and have two beautiful little girls,” he concluded.

Doug and Amy Lawson

Doug and Amy Lawson met in the fall of 1980 while attending Kansas State University. They both were 18, and both lived in the same dorm, on the same floor.

“For the first two months of school, he never saw me. He had heard of me — ‘Stephanie’s roommate’ — but had never actually laid eyes on me,” Amy said.

“I was in the K-State Marching Band and was at marching practice every day, so it is no wonder we never crossed paths.”

Several people who lived on the floor went to meals together, most of them freshman who were experiencing life away from home for the first time.

“Eating together as a group from eighth-floor Moore Hall was how many good friendships were formed and everyone bonded,” Amy said. “Doug and I just didn’t happen to meet up at the same time! I saw him from a distance and thought he was ‘with’ a certain girl, as they were always going to dinner together. Turns out the two had gone to the same high school so, as people tend to do, they hung together until they began to feel a part of the group as a whole.”

After one home football game in late September, Amy’s roommate and a couple of their mutual friends were sitting in the stands waiting as the crowd dispersed. Doug happened to notice them sitting there, so he came down to ask what they were doing. The group told him they were “waiting on Amy.”

“I’m finally going to see the ‘elusive Amy,’” Doug remembers thinking.

“It wasn’t long before I came dragging my exhausted self up the stadium stairs to where my friends waited for me. As it had been a warm day, we were allowed to wear our uniform overlay without the wool coat. I had shed the overlay and was wearing the high-waist pants with suspenders over a white T-shirt,” Amy said.

“That was the first time he’d ever seen me. I was sure I looked an absolute mess — hot, tired, half-dressed in the purple K-State Marching Band uniform, holding my flute and ridiculously tall, furry shako hat.”

“I was very interested in him after finally meeting him,” Amy recalls. She said she dropped many hints, but he didn’t pick up on her interest.

It wasn’t until January 1981 that she managed, with the help of some well-meaning and meddling friends, to finally get Doug alone for long periods of time.

“I began a work-study job at the library to help defray the costs of attending university. My schedule required me to work an evening shift (after dark),” she said.

“It was drilled into our heads that to be safe, girls should never walk alone at night. I asked Jeff, one of the students on our floor, to escort me to the library. He agreed, but also dragged Doug along.”

When she left work a few hours later, Doug came to pick her up.

“It seems that Jeff had ‘something else he had to do’ and couldn’t come and get me, so Doug did the honors,” Amy said. “That was the beginning of our ‘courtship.’ The two of us would walk around campus for hours at a time, just talking and getting to know each other.”

Over spring break, Amy Lawson celebrated her 19th birthday with a party and hayrack ride. Several friends from the floor came to Ark City to celebrate with her.

“Those same friends coerced Doug to attend, as well. He still couldn’t believe that I would be interested in him,” Amy said. “I have often joked that it practically took hitting him over the head with a hammer to make him realize that I liked him and wanted to date him.”

The very next week, he finally asked her out on a real date.

“I happily accepted,” Amy said. “We dated for two years and then were married on January 8, 1983, and have been happily married for 34 years now!”

“We find that as time goes by, our love has deepened and grown to the point where we can anticipate each others’ thoughts and finish each others’ sentences,” Amy added. “We both even came up with the same conclusion to this story. Even after all this time, Doug still sees the ‘cute little flute player coming up the stairs of the K-State stadium’ when he looks at me.”

Jeremy and Suvanah Perdue

When Suvanah Perdue moved to Arkansas City, she and Jeremy Perdue were the same age.

“He met me at Casey’s gas station. I caught his eye instantly. He asked to see my tattoo on my back that I had just gotten at Skinsations,” she said.

“Honestly, he scared me a little with his bandana, bad boy look and forward demeanor.”

Jeremy started asking around about her and found out she worked at Sirloin Stockade. He come around from time to time, as the two had mutual friends.

But at the time, she had a boyfriend. “Every time we were in the same social gathering, I was taken,” Suvanah said.

After about two years, though, Suvanah left an abusive relationship.

“(Jeremy) was my knight in shining armor,” she said. “We were just friends hanging out. He made me feel safe. We also had a lot of fun together. He came over to my apartment to hang out and keep watch over me, and never left. We have been together ever since.”

The couple have a daughter, Riley, who now is 12 years old.

“We have been together for 13 and a half years and married a little over 12 and a half years,” Suvanah said. “There have been a lot of ups and downs. Marriage takes hard work and forgiveness. But I truly do love William Jeremy Perdue. If nothing else, I’ll keep (him) around for his good cooking … wink, wink.

“No, really. He is a great dad and one of the most caring people I’ve ever met.”

Correction: A story in Monday’s e-edition, “Four Ark City Daily Bytes readers share real-life Valentine’s love stories,” incorrectly stated Josh Hawkins had both legs amputated at the knee. Only one of Hawkins’ legs was amputated. Ark City Daily Bytes deeply regrets this error.