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Love at first sight: Wartime encounter leads to 25-year marriage

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Everyone has their own unique story about the moment they met their spouse or the moment they fell in love. For one career military man from Sullivan County, it was a very unusual setting far, far away. "Mary ducked into my work tent to get out of a sand storm. She had on helmet, and her flak vest, and her chemical suit, and her weapon, and all her gear, and kind of looked like an armed snow woman," Pat Shull said. Saudi Arabia during war time does not exactly provide the most romantic first encounter, but retired Army Colonel Pat Shull, who also serves on the Sullivan County Commission, says it was love at first sight. "The light went on when I met Mary. The light went on. She didn't know at the time, but she was crazy about me," Pat said. Pat and Mary Shull were both majors in the U.S. Army serving in Desert Storm when they met in February of 1991, although it took a little longer for the relationship to catch fire. Pat said, "She rode around with me in a Humvee, but she doesn't count that as a date." The two eventually did share the first "official" date in May and married within the year, exchanging their vows in Fort Stewart, Georgia on October 12, 1991. It is a date they had chosen around their military training, which ended up being moved to the week before the wedding. "Two days before we are due to get married, and our guests are coming in, we're coming out of the field training exercise, our gear and our junk and trying all of that settled and have two days to finish up planning for the wedding," Mary said. The couple later welcomed two children into their family, Tucker and Margaret, who are now in college. The family finally settled in Kingsport after military service. The couple just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last October.

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