Jeff and Donna at the bowling alley

Jeff and Donna met nearly 20 years ago when they were competing in Special Olympics. They each did a little bit of everything—softball, basketball, track and field, and of course, bowling. They started out as friends because Donna was dating someone else when they first met. “I had to wait for an opening,” Jeff joked. When the time was right, Jeff asked Donna out, and they were finally able to go on their first date. Afterward, Donna said she told her mom she didn’t think it was going to work out between the two of them because Jeff was “much older.” She told Jeff “Eh, cool it.” But after a few weeks, she had a change of heart and said she was willing to give their relationship another chance. They dated for about a year and a half before Jeff proposed.

Their wedding day was full of friends and family. They got married on a Saturday afternoon in June at their church. A cousin sang in their wedding, a friend’s husband was their DJ and Donna’s brother served as an usher. He even helped her fix the train on her dress as she walked down the aisle. They had a reception at the church following the reception and celebrated again at a second reception at a friend’s house later. Jeff and Donna will celebrate 18 years of marriage this year.

Donna said she loves Jeff for his wackiness and his heart and says he’s “a loveable teddy bear.” Jeff said what he loves most about Donna is her kind heart. “She’ll do just about anything for anybody when she can,” he said. And, spoken like a husband of 17 years, he added “She puts up with me.”

“She’s kind. She’ll do just about anything for anybody when she can. And she puts up with me.”

Most weeks, you can find the couple at the bowling alley. They get their practice in on Wednesdays with Community Living’s Adult Recreation program and compete in a Friday night league. Donna is the leader of their league team, The Cardinals. They also like to watch TV and go to church together and attend Adult Recreation’s bingo and dartball events.

Donna said she’ll be working during the day on Valentine’s Day this year but the two have plans to have a romantic dinner after her shift ends.