It all began with a chance meeting at Augusta State University's library five years ago. Less than four months later, Maria Ollerich was saying "I do" to Jeremy Daley.
What the Hephzibah native said she eventually realized was that she knew of Mr. Daley before she actually met him.
As a freshman, Mr. Daley had met Brian Dickert, the general manager of radio station WAFJ-FM (88.3). In 1994, the station was in its infancy. Mr. Daley was pursuing a journalism degree, and he approached Mr. Dickert about doing his internship with WAFJ when the time arrived.
"I love radio, and with the station just starting, I thought it would be a great opportunity," he said. "Brian called me the next week and asked me if I could work part time, filling in in the mornings."
He did. Mrs. Daley said she used to hear the Hephzibah High graduate on the radio.
"I thought he was 50 or something like that," she said. "I was surprised to learn he was so young. He acts so mature."
Part time became full time as the midday announcer in 1996. For the past four years, Mr. Daley has been the program director and afternoon-drive host.
As for their whirlwind romance, the couple had not finished school when they were married, but they agreed there was no reason to wait.
"We felt the Lord had brought us together," Mrs. Daley said. "We spent a lot of time talking with each other, and none of our family voiced any objection to our getting married."
Before they became "wrapped up emotionally," Mr. Daley said, they discussed whether "marriage was something they could see down the road."
When they both agreed, he said,they decided "to get the snowball rolling."
"Pastors, parents, extended family - they all were for it," he said. "They saw us as a couple and they blessed it.
"We were expecting negative, but they confirmed our feelings. It turned out to be a wonderful thing.
"Outside receiving the Lord, Maria has been the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. She's been a godsend. She's very, very special."
While her husband continued his career in radio, Mrs. Daley stayed in school. She recently earned her master's degree in counseling.
"Right before our one-year anniversary, my brother was killed in a car accident," she said. "That changed my perspective on things - I appreciate things more. Less than a year later, I started grad school.
"I knew I wanted to focus more on marriage and family," she added, explaining why she pursued the counseling degree.
As a counselor, her best advice is "to laugh; it's important to keep laughing."
And the biggest event in her life?
"Definitely marrying Jeremy. We have fun together," she said. "We're truly best friends."
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