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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Lasting love: Elderly couples renew vows on Valentine's Day

  • Moments before their vow renewal ceremonies began, the two couples awaiting to exchange their pledges of love listened to Pastor Ron Head intently as they sat next to each other, hand in hand.
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  • Moments before their vow renewal ceremonies began, the two couples awaiting to exchange their pledges of love listened to Pastor Ron Head intently as they sat next to each other, hand in hand. “Love is not an act, but a lifelong relationship, making constant adjustments,” said Head, a pastor at Lindley Community Church. Vera and Albert Robbins were the first couple to stand in front of the pastor Friday on the second floor of the Steuben County Health Care Facility. At 90, Vera pushed her wheelchair-bound husband Albert, 83, down the aisle to renew their vows after 47 years of marriage. The couple, who met in 1960 and married six years later, recalled their special ceremony. “We were married in the Kanona Church,” Vera said. “It rained on our wedding day.” “But it got over at about 11 o'clock, just in time to celebrate,” Albert said. “It was a good day.” Before Albert became a resident at the facility in May 2013, he and Vera lived and worked on the farm he was born on in Bath. Matt McConnell, Vera's son from an earlier marriage, gave his mother away at today's ceremony. McConnell, who missed his mother and stepfather's first ceremony because of work, was glad to see them exchange vows today. “They've been good for each other,” McConnell said. “I hate to see them like they are now - apart - but there's nothing you can do about it because my mom is 90 years old and she can't take care of him anymore.” Beverly Ann and Roger Burdin made their way down the aisle after the Robbins, side by side in wheelchairs and fingers intertwined. Friday marked the third time Beverly Ann, 77, and Roger, 82, promised their love to one another. The couple first exchanged vows in 1958 and then again in 2008 for their 50th anniversary. The couple, along with their two children, spent their lives on a farm in Howard until Beverly suffered a stroke, leaving Roger unable to care for her on his own. Despite living away from each other, Roger makes a habit of visiting his wife, even bringing humor to the situation. Recalling the first time he laid eyes on his wife, Roger claims Beverly Ann's beauty drew him in. “I thought she looked all right,” he said with a smirk. As for Friday's vow renewal, the two were thankful for getting the opportunity to publicly declare their love once again, but probably won't be making their family any bigger. “Well, I think it's okay,” Roger said, “But we're going to think it over twice about having more kids.”

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