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Couple weds New Year’s Eve at Piedmont Henry Hospital


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent  

  Many people will look back at 2013 as a special year for a variety of reasons.

  For one new Henry County couple and their friends, it will be remembered as a time when romance blossomed in the emergency room at Piedmont Henry Hospital and the year ended with a wedding in a style all their own.

L to r: Vicky Orr, maid of honor; Rhonda Gay, bride; Brian Estep, groom and Clay Milligan, best man are shown at Piedmont Henry Hospital. Rhonda and Brian, coworkers at the hospital were married there on New Year’s Eve.                        Special photo

  Brian Estep and Rhonda Gay chose New Year’s Eve to tie the knot, and they did it in the chapel at the hospital surrounded by friends and coworkers. John Davis, one of the hospital chaplains, performed the ceremony.

  Rhonda is a licensed practical nurse in the ER, while Brian works in security at PHH. They met about two years ago and have worked a lot of night shifts together, Brian said.

  Initially each of them was involved with someone else, but in early 2013 “the stars aligned or whatever you want to call it,” Brian said with a chuckle. They began dating in April.

  “We hit it off,” he said. “It just worked out.”

  As is often the case with adults at their stage of life (both have grown children), various events during the year gave them the opportunity to lean on each other for support and grow closer. One particular example, according to Brian, was when Rhonda lost her son. They traveled together to south Georgia, where she is from, and he got to know her extended family.

  As both of them saw where the relationship was going, Brian was able to surprise Rhonda with a proposal this fall although it took some doing. Their work schedules make it difficult to even get the same day off sometimes, he said, but he was able to plan a day trip to Helen for the big moment.

  Once they decided to get married, they wanted to do it as soon as they could – before the end of the year if possible. They settled on New Year’s Eve and began looking at potential locations, realizing quickly that a relatively short time in a wedding chapel can add up to a lot of money.

  “That is when I came up with the idea of having it at the hospital,” said Brian. “There is a chapel and they have chaplains. It seemed to make sense to celebrate it there with the people we are around the most.”

  Given the hours they work, it is no surprise that their coworkers are as much of a family to them as their relatives. “We probably spend more time here than we do at home anyway,” Brian quipped.

  His interaction with Davis during a particularly busy night in the ER made a positive impression on him, and after a brief conversation Davis volunteered to perform the ceremony. It was fairly simple to block out the time needed to use the chapel, and while they wanted to keep the event small, many of their nurse friends jumped at the chance to help with decorations and handle the reception, which was also at PHH.

  “It turned out really nice,” said Brian.

  After a short honeymoon in Florida, Brian and Rhonda are back at work. But they will have a unique and interesting wedding story to share for years to come.

  “A lot of people think of the chapel at the hospital as being a sad place,” said Brian. “I thought that it could be a good place and a happy place as well. It is something our friends can remember for a long time just like we will.”



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