By Rebecca Hoey ~ Terry Wisun and David Hamel of Northampton, Vermont, were married on March 18, 2020, after eloping to Burlington, Vermont. Fate proved that nothing could stand in the couple’s way, not even the pandemic.
Wisun, 71, is a widow after 49 years of marriage to Richard Wisun, who lost a painful battle with pancreatic cancer; and Hamel, 63, a divorcee, both figured they’d give the dating site eharmony a try. After being matched together by the online company, Wisun shared, “They got everything right except the distance.” Hamel is a hospice RN in Northampton, and Wisun is a longtime resident of Fire Island, where she and Richard lived year round in Robbins Rest for decades.
The physical distance did not prove to be an impediment. A connection was made and a whirlwind romance soon followed – so did the pandemic – and with it an uncertainty in what the future might hold. Wisun and Hamel decided to live in the moment and get married right away. They headed up to Vermont to elope.
The COVID shutdowns were right on their heels, but fate remained on their side. First stop was a trip to the jeweler in Northampton in search of two simple wedding bands. As the shop owner helped them that day, he shared with them, “You’re lucky you came to me today, because I’m closing tomorrow.” Next, they headed to town hall to get their marriage license, where again they were told, “Due to COVID, we’ll be closing tomorrow.” Last but not least, the wedding officiant Carmen George in Burlington told them that she would indeed perform their ceremony the next day, and she even had a special venue in mind. She too didn’t neglect to tell them beforehand that even she “would not be performing any ceremonies after tomorrow.”
The special venue ended up being the Forever Young Treehouse, in Oakledge Park (Burlington), Vermont. This is no ordinary treehouse – it is the first treehouse that was notably designed and built to be universally accessible – important to Wisun, who is disabled and uses a cane.
“It was a cold day of 35 degrees and thankfully no wind,” said Wisun. “It was simply the three of us, myself, David and George. Everything Carmen spoke were the most beautiful words, along with the poetry she read to us. It was all so wonderful. There’s no way we could have asked for a more incredible ceremony.”
Before leaving Vermont, as the newlyweds made their way back home towards Fire Island, they realized they were hungry and decided to stop at a local Vermont food co-op to grab a bite. As they ordered and waited for their meal, they excitedly chatted away about their wedding day. When it was time pay their bill, they were told that someone who overheard their story had already paid for the couple’s wedding meal.
Here’s to finding love again in turbulent times, and to a bright future ahead!
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