GALLIPOLIS — Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Gallipolis River Recreation Festival, Scott Burkett and Julie Campbell joined together as husband and wife in the same spot where they first met — exactly 43 years ago.
Burkett and Campbell first met on July 4, 1972, during the Gallipolis River Recreation Festival. At the time, they were 14 and 13, respectively. Burkett, who was from Toledo, was visiting his grandparents for the summer. Campbell lived in Point Pleasant, W.Va. Through a mutual friend, the two met for the first time in front of the Yellow Fever Victims Memorial on First Avenue. Their romance continued for several years through summer and holiday visits, and letters and phone calls.
“I remember my Dad would yell at me because of the long distance calls,” Burkett said.
As with many young romances, life eventually took new turns and the two drifted apart.
Fast forward to 2009, when Burkett searched out Campbell on Facebook and from there regular phone calls and emails rekindled the romance.
“I drove up to Toledo one weekend,” Campbell said. “We met in a parking lot and we just hit it off.”
Burkett proposed on Dec. 24, 2009, in Smith Superstore, where Campbell worked at the time, and on July 4, 2015, the two were officially married in Gallipolis City Park, in the exact spot where they first met.
“It made a full circle,” Burkett said.
The wedding took place with the support of the River Recreation Festival Committee and Gallia County Chamber of Commerce.
“It was a great day,” said Chamber Executive Director Michelle Miller. “Scott contacted me several months ago. At first, I was trying to envision a wedding in the middle of the River Recreation Festival, but when he told me his story, it was clear, no matter what, we had to help make this happen. I was so glad I was able to witness the very happy ending of this real-life romance story. I would like to congratulate Scott and Julie and wish them a future full of happiness.”