Ask almost any Government-in-Action Youth Tour participant about the experience of visiting our nation’s capital, and you will likely hear: “It was the trip of a lifetime.”
On the annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., sponsored by electric cooperatives across the nation, students see monuments, memorials and historic sites. For many, it’s their first trip outside Texas. They have the chance to be independent and find themselves. Kaelyn McPherson and Seth King found each other.
On the night before the 2005 Youth Tour, Kaelyn and Seth arrived at a hotel in Irving representing HILCO Electric Cooperative and United Cooperative Services, respectively. Early the next morning, the soon-to-be high school juniors were on the plane to Washington, D.C., with about 100 other Texas students.
But fate didn’t step in until the day they flew home. Seth’s parents were late picking him up, and Kaelyn and her parents waited with him until they arrived. By the next day, the teenagers—who didn’t converse during the tour—were texting and talking. They traveled 1 1/2 hours each way to see one another’s football games and volleyball matches—his in Stephenville and hers in Blum—but it was more of a friendly matter until one December 2006 evening when they shared their first kiss.
Kaelyn said they saw each other on the weekends and would—shhh!—break curfew to be with one another. Before their high school graduations in 2007, when Seth found out he had been accepted at West Point, he gave Kaelyn a promise ring and asked her to marry him. “I said yes and scared the heck out of my parents!” she says, laughing.
After officially getting engaged December 19, 2009, they were married June 3, 2011, and today live on a U.S. Army post at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Kaelyn is a nurse at the nearby Medical Center Enterprise, and Seth is in flight school, having completed the Basic Officer Leaders Course. Kaelyn’s joy is contagious: “We are so grateful for the Youth Tour! We couldn’t be happier.”
It’s a real-life fairy tale, Youth Tour-style.
Ashley Clary-Carpenter, field editor
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