Friday, February 12, 2016

How Fate, a Fundraiser and a Bow-tie Led to Love

By Paula Deegan 
Red Cross Heroes events have several goals: celebrating local heroes, honoring first responders, and, of course, raising funds to help the Red Cross alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

Our events also aim to connect people to the Red Cross mission and to each other. Though we’ve never set out with the goal of turning two single individuals into a couple, that is exactly what happened at the Red Cross Century of Champions Ball on March 22, 2014.

Longtime Mile High Chapter Board member Steve Gurr and his wife Amanda were planning to attend the event at a table filled mostly with Steve’s colleagues. A last minute cancellation inspired Amanda to invite her friend Jennifer Martin to the Ball, knowing Jennifer would have a ball gown to wear and would enjoy a fun Saturday night out. Little did Jennifer know that this turn of events would introduce her to her future husband.

Jennifer and Don, center, moments after they met at the Ball.
Their love story all started with an untied bowtie. The evening of the Ball, amidst the glamour of the red carpet and the prestige of droves of Red Cross supporters, Steve’s colleague, Don Samuels, arrived with his bowtie untied due to a broken wrist. Don approached Amanda for assistance with the predicament, but his colleague’s wife saw the opportunity and introduced him to Jennifer to help him tie his tie. The rest, as they say, is history.

Don and Jennifer started dating after that night. They became engaged the following Christmas Eve and were married last March, just about a year after their fated meeting at the Red Cross Ball.

When asked if she and Don would be attending the American Red Cross Heroes Soiree in Denver this year, Jennifer quickly replied, “Yes, we cancelled plans to go out of town so that we could go!” and said this annual Red Cross event is like another anniversary and will always be very special to the couple.

As Jennifer remarked with a laugh while telling their story, “The Red Cross does more for its community than you might expect!”

This Valentine’s Day, we wish all our Red Cross couples a happy day and we look forward to seeing many of you at the American Red Cross Heroes Soiree on February 26.

Check out photos from the Century of Champions Ball where this story took place: 

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