Katie's Links

What Others Say


Home Brian and Alison

Valentine's Day Winner

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 for "real".

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 met.

"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 Story Contest.

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 Keith Dugger.

"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' faces.

"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 the arts."

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." "