By Ambria Collins, staff reporter for the Citizen Tribune
Originally published in the Citizen Tribune on Sept. 16, 2015. Reprinted with permission.
Once upon a time, Walter Williams and Brandi McDonald met under less than perfect circumstances; however, through the trials, they found love and wed Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this year, life brought both McDonald with a broken foot and Williams with the loss of both legs to The Heritage Center’s rehabilitation department [in Morristown, Tennessee]. It is there where they met and the beginnings of love took root.
“When I first saw her, I said something to her, and she said, ‘Are you flirting with me?’” Williams said as the two newlyweds shared a laugh. “I don’t know what I said after that, but it just got my attention. Then I had to build up my nerves to talk to her.”
“I would stop by his room to say hello,” McDonald said of the early days. “I would always stop and talk to him trying to flirt.”
McDonald was discharged from the center in early July. The day before she left, Williams presented a jewelry box to her that held his phone number inside.
“We called the next day, and we’ve been together ever since,” she said.
For the wedding, the couple chose the place where they had met, and The Heritage Center “went all out,” according to Williams.
The ceremony was held in the courtyard. A white arch was placed in front of the crowd for the couple to stand beneath and family, friends, residents and staff members all gathered around to celebrate the marriage.
The Rev. Jack C. Jenkins, pastor of Liberty Hill United Methodist Church where McDonald attends, officiated.
“I’m really happy for them; I’m tickled they were able to find each other,” he said. “I feel like they’re going to be happy together.”
The bride and groom were both happy with the ceremony.
“I couldn’t ask for a better wedding,” McDonald said.
Southern Orthocare prosthetist Carey Bunch, care provider to Williams, said it was wonderful to witness the wedding take place.
“What we do in rehab and in prosthetics is really try to help people restore their normalcy in life in spite of challenging circumstances,” he said. “It takes determination like what Walter has to really bounce back from a traumatic experience. He’s faced it with such courage, and it’s an inspiration to watch him. Now, here he is standing at the alter waiting for his beautiful bride.”
With the beautiful ceremony coming to its end and the couple looking ahead to their new lives together, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Williams sealed their love and marriage with an “I do.”