The story I wrote about how Keith and I met
It started 16 years ago, with my plight to become an Air Force
officer. I applied to ROTC and USAFA. I was accepted by ROTC,
but had to turn it down. I missed USAFA by 2 points on the
ACT test -the letter arrived the day before the new test results
were due! Into the enlisted USAF I went. After Basic and Technical
School, I went to Japan.
Still dreaming of USAFA, I rose my test scores and I passed
my physical! While waiting for my acceptance letter, I received
orders to Tinker AFB, OK. I was excited, because I'd be close
to whom I thought I was "my love." Well, next in
the series of fateful days came, my acceptance to USAFA, and
the "I won't let you throw this away just because of
me," from my "love."
So, I went to USAFA, where I realized that (being the oldest
person attending), I was destined to be the "worker bee"
and left. I never regretted the decision. I went to stay in
Georgia with my sister, where I wanted to be stationed. Then
it happened, my orders came in and I got my wish.
In my husband's life at the time while this was happening
with me, he lived in Oklahoma City, near Tinker AFB. About
the time I found I needed to pass my physical for USAFA, he
had decided to join the USAF and went through Basic and Technical
training. He was then stationed at Robins AFB. Before I arrived
he went to Oklahoma, to ask his "love" to be his
wife, where he found she didn't feel the same.
I walked into the work center (in civilian clothes - my uniforms
were…incomplete) and was introduced to co-workers. I kept
feeling eyes on me from behind. My sponsor introduced me to
Airman Dugger. I found out I had to be in uniform to check
into the squadron. We went to the orderly room to get stripes
for my uniforms. I couldn't purchase a hat, the stores were
closed. So, Airman Dugger said, "I have a hat you can
borrow. You'll have to wash it first."
That's all it took. From that point on - I was hooked. I
stayed in the office when he had phone duty and when he didn't;
I would hurry back to my dorm room to watch him go to and
from the chow hall.
We went on an exercise with our squadron, and that is how
we got to know each other. We have been inseparable since.
We married each other twice - once for military paperwork
reasons (I wanted to go to Germany with him) and, the other
Recently we talked about how fate panned out. I said, "I'm
glad mom said no to ROTC and I left USAFA."
His said, "We'd have met anyway, and although you'd
have been an officer, you'd still have dated an airman."
The Newspaper article - error on where Keith and I actually
"Katie Dugger and Janice Rose both agree that nobody can put
a price tag on true love. But now they know a good love story
can earn top honors in the From the Heart Valentine's Day
The two won first place honors in the competition, sponsored
by the Little Elm Public Library and The Little Elm Journal.
Dugger's entry clinched first place in the Truly, Madly Deeply:
Most Romantic Love Story category, while Rose won in the My
Funny Valentine: Most Humorous Love Story division. The writers'
romantic tales won each of them a $35 gift certificate to
Fera's Italian Restaurant.
Both Dugger and Rose produced charming tales of budding love,
said Tina Hager, director of the Little Elm Public Library,
adding she appreciated the "realness" of both works.
Dugger's entry relays the moment she and her husband first
laid eyes on one another 16 years ago. At the time, the Little
Elm resident was driven to become an officer in the U.S. Air
Force. After passing her written and physical exams, Dugger
was ordered to Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma. A series
of events, including a decision to abandon her original goal
of becoming an officer and instead searching for a "worker
bee" post in the Air Force, led Dugger to Georgia than
back to Tinker Air Force Base, where she acquired a position." (the error)
"One of the first missions Dugger completed upon returning
to Oklahoma was to meet her new co-workers, including Airman
"I found out I had to be in uniform to check into the
squadron," she wrote. "We went into the orderly
room to get stripes for my uniforms. I couldn't purchase a
hat, the stores were closed. So, Airman Dugger said, 'I have
a hat you can borrow. You'll have to wash it first.'"
At that point, Dugger was "hooked" and made it
a personal mission to woo the friendly airman.
"I stayed in the office when he had phone duty, and
when he didn't, I would hurry back to my dorm room to watch
him go to and from the chow hall," she wrote.
The couple later married and to this day, they still remember
the hat that brought them together and led them on the path
toward wedded bliss.
"I entered the contest because I wanted everyone to
know how I met the most wonderful man in the world, and that
something spectacular can come out of something as small as
lending someone a hat," she said. "I honestly didn't
expect to win. I really just wanted to have fun."
Dugger noted the couple's story often brings smiles to listeners'
"I usually only tell the story when asked how Keith
and I met," she said. "I love to tell it because
I think it is so unique. When I do tell the story, the first
reaction is, 'So, what's the punch line?' Then, when the person
realizes it isn't a joke, the reaction is, 'That is such a
cool way to meet!'"
Rose's story also elicits smiles. Her entry, a poem titled
"Romance Blooms on the Front Porch," recounts the
moment she and her husband of nearly 42 years became inseparable.
After a disastrous first date, Rose opted to give her now
husband, Paul, a second chance. The couple attended a social
gathering at Rose's friend's house. While walking along the
porch, Paul lost his footing, teetered off the porch and tumbled
into some bushes.
"I was so very, very shy, and there he was, Mr. Cool,"
the resident of The Colony recalled. "When he stepped
off the porch and into the bushes, I thought, I could deal
with this guy."
Rose couldn't stop laughing. She found that after that night,
she also couldn't stop thinking about him. The couple began
to spend more and more time together, even working together
on their mutual interest, drama. Love grew between them, and
after nine months, the couple married. Today, the couple is
still happily married.
"We're very blessed," Rose, an already published
poet, said, adding the couple raised two children, who each
have two children of their own.
Rose still enjoys telling the story of the moment she and
Paul truly connected with one another. So when she saw an
article in The Journal announcing the From the Heart contest,
she opted to try her luck. Paul encouraged her participation
and chuckled when he learned Rose planned to enter the poem
about his fateful fall into the bushes.
"He laughed. He thought it was funny, and I had rewritten
it several times over the years," she said.
But winning honors in the story competition already has Rose
thinking about next year.
"I would love to participate," she said. "I
think it's a wonderful idea. I think it's a really neat thing
to encourage people in the community to write and support
Hager said the inaugural story contest yielded wonderful
entries. Already, she's looking forward to next year's edition.
"I'm glad people did enter," Hager said. "I
think for the first year, any entry is a plus, so we're already
talking about next year." "