By Brittany Hanson and Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
Editor’s note: Next week is Valentine’s Day, and the Journal wants to put the spotlight on love and romance. Here are the stories of four prominent citizens from Garden Grove and Stanton.
So this is love. Jennifer and David.
Stanton city council member David Shawver met his wife Jennifer at St. Polycarp Church in Stanton in 1977.
“I met her at church. It was an Easter penance service and she was the secretary at St. Polycarp,” remembers Shawver, “I asked her mother if I could take her out for dinner.”
Her mother said yes and 29-year-old David took 20-year-old Jennifer to dinner and a movie. Over the course of the next four months they spent a lot of time together and with her family. Shortly after those months passed, they were married at the same parish where they met.
“I think that we hit it off really well. I just kind of knew. I made a good decision,” said Shawver, “We got along really well. She enjoyed athletics, I was a coach and we went to a lot of games together. She was very active in her parish, and I taught classes at her church. It was great.”
They had five children; three boys and two girls and four grandchildren; two boys and two girls.
“Now we’re just enjoying our grandkids, taking care of them and visiting them,” said Shawver.
Some words of advice for new couples?
“Well, you’ve got to realize that things change after you have kids. It’s quite an adjustment. I think that being able to adjust is what has allowed us to stay together as long as we have. A lot things change in your life, but when those changes happen, that’s when you really have to work together to be successful.”
For Carol Jacobs, city manager of Stanton, meeting her husband Tris was a part of a different time and a different work industry. It was the mid 80’s and she met him at work were she was in advertising sales for cable TV. He worked as cable technician.
“We met and became friends. I met him 1984, we started dating in 1985 and we got married in 1987,” said Jacobs.
As for why they started dating, Jacobs has an interesting statement.
“Well the dating material, that was easy. He was and is gorgeous,” laughed Jacobs, “ Once I got to know him, he made me laugh. No one ever treated me better, he treated me so well, and always put me first, was always so concerned about me and my feelings.”
As Carol started getting to know Tris’ family, she started to watch him as he interacted with his siblings and their children.
She said that she had already scoped him out as being good husband material, but was watching to see how he was around children.
“I saw him around those small kids and I started to eyeball him. I was thinking is he dad material?”
Jacobs decided that he was. Now married for some time, her recipe for making a relationship have staying power is a combination of humor, communication and accepting each other’s differences.
“I think it’s always a partnership, there is always a separation of duties, you have got to make sure that you’re communicating, but you can’t always win. I think, in 25 years, we’ve probably had less than 5 fights. Why do you need to have to fight,” said Jacobs, “ Don’t let a day go by without saying I love you . . . . there is nobody I’d rather hang out with than my husband. If I was stuck on a desert island, and could only have one person with me, it would be my husband.”
Some people meet their future spouses at school, others online, but for Garden Grove city officials true love is not about how you meet, but whether or not your relationship is built on friendship.
Garden Grove Police Cheif Kevin Raney met his wife of 26 years on a blind date set up by his sister. Although their first encounter was cut short when Raney’s twin brother’s wife went into labor mid-date, he said she was very understanding and they met up again.
“There was certainly a spark of interest on that first date. We were able to get through the discomfort of a blind date,” Raney said.
True love for Raney was felt when his wife put up with the long hair and hours, that came with his position working in narcotics in the 1980s. Dona stood by him and they continually put effort and appreciation into their relationship, a key factor in its success, according to Raney.
“You have to be friends first, we never lost track of our friendship,” Raney said.
Garden Grove Councilmember, Dina Nguyen, has been married for almost a year, but the friendship with her husband began 10 years ago at work.
Nguyen met her husband-to-be when he applied for a interpreting job while she worked as a supervisor of judges staff at the Superior of California-West Justice Center. Although she was his boss at the time, Nguyen began a friendship that evolved into an unexpected love, she said.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you think with your heart, most of the time it is right,” Nguyen said.
This Valentine’s Day the Nguyen’s are celebrating the holiday by taking their newborn child to visit her in-laws.