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Love is in the air at VCU Health

VCU Health is a place where you can form uncommon bonds.

Paper hearts and stethoscope Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we are sharing love stories from across VCU Health. (Getty Images)

By Sara McCloskey and Mia Stephens

From patients and caregivers to doctors and support staff, you can meet so many people in a hospital. For some VCU Health team members, those brief moments in a hallway or grabbing a bite to eat were when they crossed paths with the person they fell in love with.

This Valentine’s Day, we are sharing the love at VCU Health News with the sweet stories of couples who work at the health system or met on one of our medical campuses.

Ivory and Tammy

 A man and woman smile while posing for a picture with mountains and a sunset behind them.

Ivory and Tammy Richardson try eat lunch together whenever they can. The couple works at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. (Contributed photo)

Ivory and Tammy Richardson met at church when they were kids, and now both work at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. Ivory, the hospital’s director of Surgical Services and Labor and Delivery, says he doesn’t remember the exact moment he fell for Tammy, but that he’s “enjoyed every minute” of his life spent with her.

This year, the couple will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary. Tammy, BSN, a multimodality technologist who works on ultrasounds and x-ray machines, can’t believe how quickly time flies, and that she wants “as much time with Ivory” as she can get. While their schedules may be busy, the couple tries to eat lunch together as often as possible in the hospital cafe or outside.

“I hear from other hospital employees, “Oh no, I couldn’t stand working with my husband and seeing him that much!” I personally don’t feel that way, I reach for every moment we can spend together,” Tammy said.

Kwynn and Tim

 A man and woman smile on a sunny day with a field behind them.

Kwynn Rumberger and Tim Jeter love to travel together when they’re not busy taking care of patients at VCU Medical Center. (Contributed photo)

Kwynn Rumberger, R.N., knew that Tim Jeter, R.N., was the one because of his big heart and caring spirit, recalling the moment she saw Tim chase down a man who was unhoused to give him chicken nuggets from his lunch. The couple first met while working in North Hospital on the VCU Medical Center campus in downtown Richmond.

Several years later, their relationship blossomed in between classes in the nurse practitioner program at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Nursing. Kwynn and Tim are always busy taking care of patients, but always try to spend time together on campus.

When asked what they love about each other, Kwynn said, “We are both extremely supportive of one another, and we both love traveling and learning new things together.”

Ron and Deborah

A man and woman stand together smiling with a lake behind them. 

Ron and Deborah Simms met near a food cart by VCU Medical Center’s Gateway Building. They are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this year. (Contributed photo)

Standing near a food cart around VCU Medical Center’s Gateway Building, Ron Simms Jr. knew a woman he had just met named Deborah, a senior analyst for VCU Health, was special when she paused to ask him and his friend where they went to church. Ron, a pharmacy purchaser, was trying to find Deborah in West Hospital where she worked, when the two crossed paths in the hospital cafeteria. They started dating a month later.
When Ron introduced his new girlfriend to his mom, the women were overjoyed – they were once coworkers in the same department of the hospital. Within a year, Deborah and Ron were married and soon welcomed their daughter into the world at VCU Health. Deborah still works for VCU Health, and she says VCU Medical Center will always be a special place for her family.
“We will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year,” Deborah said. “We just recently attended the MLK Walk and Celebration at VCU Health and we paused to kiss on the spot we met. VCU Health has always been an intricate part of our lives for over 50 years.”

Keith and Kallen

Man and woman in scrubs smiling.

Keith and Kallen Prior work rotating shifts at VCU Health Tappahannock Hospital, but always make an effort to see each other during workday – even for just a few minutes. (Contributed photo)

A co-worker noticed the “love connection” between good friends Kallen Prior, BSN, RN, and Keith Prior, BSN, RN, PCCN, when they were working at VCU Health Pauley Heart Center. Within a year, their strong friendship grew into a relationship that is now going on seven years strong, with the couple celebrating their second wedding anniversary this year.

Kallen and Keith eventually landed at VCU Health Tappahannock Hospital where their love continues to grow every day. From carpooling to having their most trusted coworker available in times of need – the couple cherishes working together.

Kallen says Keith is her “real-life Nicholas Sparks guy” with an infectious smile and warmth towards others that is “a pleasure to witness.”

“[Keith] makes me feel like a princess by leaving chocolates on my pillows when we work opposite shifts,” Kallen said. “He also makes me feel respected and equal in the way that he trusts me to help in other interests, such as construction and renovations, so that we can continue to grow and build the depth of our relationship.”

Keith says there isn’t enough space to write down everything he loves about Kallen.

“Kallen has the most genuinely perfect heart I have ever seen and that is what captured my love. She thinks of everyone before herself and is constantly searching for what she can do to help someone,” Keith said. “Ironically, she calls me “Sunshine” when it is her that shines a light on my day and warms me from the inside out. Not only do I love being a nurse and caring for people, but it is so much more satisfying to share it with your best friend.”