On July 7, 2021

Couple overcomes all odds to tie the knot

By Ethan Weinstein

Nothing could stop Jessie Gagnon and Earl Kehoe from finally marrying. Kehoe’s stroke hadn’t. Covid hadn’t. And the couple certainly wasn’t going to let the day’s 90-degree heat delay their marriage any longer.

So on Tuesday, June 30, the couple’s family and friends gathered outside The Pines Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Allen Street for a small ceremony. The groomsmen wore purple bowties and purple suspenders over white shirts — the inverse of Kehoe’s white-on-purple. Gagnon, too, wore lavender as she walked past balloons and doting eyes to join Kehoe underneath a shady gazebo.

Together, Kehoe and Gagnon laughed lovingly through their vows. When they solidified their marriage with a kiss, yips escaped from the crowd. It was the culmination of a four-year engagement, and a particularly difficult year and a half.

On Jan 2, 2020, Kehoe suffered a rare stroke. “On my day off,” he said with a wry smile. He spent 30 grueling days in an ICU in Burlington before moving into The Pines. All the while, Gagnon stayed by his side, even as doctors question Kehoe’s chances.

When the pandemic hit, Gagnon and Kehoe were separated — The Pines did not allow visitors.

“We had to have contact over FaceTime,” Gagnon said, which was difficult, because Kehoe’s stroke had taken his voice. Instead of speech, the couple communicated with their faces.

At Kehoe’s behest, his nurse, Kim Dunbar, became an ordained minister to officiate the ceremony. On the wedding day — nine years to the day since the couple started dating — she read of love’s curative power before the visibly moved crowd. That the two could finally tie the knot seemed a miracle. And Kehoe is determined to continue defying the odds: “I am going to walk again.”

“Everyone: Earl has an announcement to make,” Gagnon said, acting as Kehoe’s megaphone. “Earl is coming home the end of July.”

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Stockbridge resident makes World MastersFly Fishing team

May 15, 2024
U.S. team of five will compete in the Czech Republic May 19-24 By Katy Savage A Stockbridge resident is casting up to test his fishing skills at the 2024 World Masters Fly Fishing Championships. Matt Stedina is one of five people who made the U.S. team. He’s currently in the Czech Republic preparing for the…

Killington Cup to return in 2024 

May 15, 2024
Killington Resort is slated to kick off the 2024-25 Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in the U.S., hosting the Stifel Killington Cup for the eighth time over Thanksgiving weekend. Over 40,000 fans are expected to cheer on the fastest female ski racers in the world, including six-time Stifel Killington Cup Slalom champion and winningest…

Robert Hecker appointed to Killington Select Board

May 15, 2024
By Curt Peterson Robert Hecker has been appointed to take Steve Finneron’s seat on the Killington Select Board. The announcement came after an executive session Monday night May 13. The position lasts until next Town Meeting Day vote, when voters will choose the person to fulfill the remaining year of Finneron’s term.  Hecker was one…

Vermont Legislature adjourns after a contentious 2024 session

May 15, 2024
Session was shaped by debates over property taxes, housing shortages, flood recovery and public safety By Sarah Mearhoff and Shaun Robinson/VTDigger After a tumultuous day of dealmaking on housing, land use and property tax measures, the Vermont Legislature adjourned its 2024 session in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m.…