(KSLA) - Love takes many paths.
So this week on The Good Stuff, I am sharing love stories behind some of the couples I’ve met during my reporting.
For Charles and Vernita Brown, their path carried them from a world of drugs and gangs to Charles eventually leading weekly prayers for peace in Shreveport’s Allendale neighborhood.
"We couldn't see past our own addictions," says Charles, with Vernita sitting beside him, nodding her head in agreeance.
“Everything on my resume says, you’re not supposed to be here,” Charles said — referencing the fact that he and his wife are now drug-free, employed, and sitting in front of a home they had just paid off.
“It actually says, we are supposed to be dead,” quips Vernita.
Their unbreakable bond, formed over many years of their relationship, is no doubt tried, tested and now true.
"To be here now, sane, sober and safe, it's a miracle, Doug," admits Charles.
"We met at LSU, dated at LSU, and married at the chapel at LSU," recalls Roberta.
Approaching 60 years of marriage, they've attended all four of LSU's national championship victories, beginning on January 1, 1959 against Clemson at the old Tulane stadium.
And it’s a marital bond that just gets stronger — with each and every passing morning.
"He wouldn't leave a single morning without telling me he loved me and kissing me goodbye," Roberta adds with a smile.
In 2011, on a camping trip to southeast Oklahoma, I stumbled across a Bigfoot festival.
I didn’t discover Bigfoot, but I found something even more unbelievable — a wedding at the Bigfoot festival.
"We met online," the bride to be, Dena from Texas.
After many months of courting long-distance, the time had come for Dena and fiance’ Don, from Oklahoma, to tie the knot.
"They decided on The Bigfoot Festival", announced the man preparing to conduct the ceremony under the roof of the ground's event center.
The decision to marry at such a unique event was decided upon after realizing they had a similar intriguing interest in the hunt for Sasquatch.
“We both kind of took a leap of faith,” Dena said.
Photographer Darryl Ware discovered his love of taking pictures after stints in both the military and law enforcement.
The highly decorated deputy served over a decade with the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office.
But why leave such a successful career in law enforcement?
"You helped someone escape form a burning building," I asked.
"Yes," Darryl replied.
He also rescued a couple and their child escape from a burning home a few years later.
But when I asked if he considered himself a hero, he quickly said, "No."
"I wasn't going to come home and that was OK," Darryl begins to explain, that deep down inside, he had accepted his own death.
"But that is who he is," a tearful wife Krystal shares.
"So that doesn't surprise me."
And Darryl is extremely grateful that his wife was there to support him every step of the way during his transition from law enforcement to photography.
"If my wife hadn't been by my side these past 12 years, I probably wouldn't be alive today," Darryl admits.
2018 was a year of ups and down for Ashley Davis of Bossier Parish.
“It just knocked me to the floor,” explains this single mother of three, who says her breast cancer diagnosis left her devastated.
Within months, Ashley was at a local cancer hospital with chemo being pumped into her veins to begin the process of ridding her body of cancer.
Yet she was more worried about her diagnosis ruining her eldest son's senior year of high school battling this disease.
But her worry soon became a non-issue in her mind.
"I think it's just about the timing. I think it's perfect," smiles Ashley.
And here's why.
After her third round of chemo, and with her hair falling out, the time had come for Ashley to shave the rest of his long, thick hair.
But that is when 'perfect' stepped in.
Her son Gavin invited a host of his high school friends over to their home to shave their heads right alongside her.
"It was the perfect time for cancer," concedes Ashley.
I remember thinking while interviewing Ashley in late November of 2018, how impressed I was with how she had handled this horrible diagnosis, all while continuing to raise her twin 10-year-olds and 17-year-old Gavin.
A friendship was easily started, and eventually — a date.
A few dates.
In my over 30 years of working in the TV news business — I had never gone out on a date with someone I had also interviewed for a news story.
Ashley and I are now engaged with plans to marry later this year.