Terry Drexler retired and relocated to the La Crosse area to be near his daughter Jenny Drexler, DO, Emergency Services and her family when his wife passed in 2017.
After settling in, he took his daughter's advice to volunteer at Gundersen. Originally committing to Tuesday afternoons, it wasn't long before Terry was filling shifts wherever needed.
He soon met Deb Talle, a retired Gundersen Foodservice employee of nearly 30 years who returned to the organization to volunteer.
"One morning I walked in, and there she was sitting at the desk running the phones, and I introduced myself," Terry said.
"The casual banter went on for a while until one morning, when all the volunteers were gone and it was just us, she asked me out."
A native of the area, Deb offered to show him around. It was right around Valentine's Day in 2019 when they had their first date at a La Crosse favorite Fayze's.
What began as weekly dates grew into a romance.
They got to know each other while enjoying the simple things: going on walks, attending Moon Tunes, going to sporting events, fishing and more. It wasn't long before Terry began hinting at the topic of marriage, but Deb said she was leaving it up to him. He didn't disappoint.
"She was over at my house this summer I think it was July and we were doing yard work," Terry said, smiling. "We had taken a break on the deck with a refreshment and we were just talking. So I looked at her and asked, 'So, do you want to get married? And she smiled and said, 'Yes.'"
Deb adds, jokingly: "I mean, we had been to the La Crosse dump twice that day. I had on my crumbiest clothes and we had been digging in the weeds and brush all day. I guess that's what it takes for this guy!"
Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of a pandemic and family illness complicated their original wedding plans. So, the couple planned a small ceremony at home.
Deb, a dedicated sports and Green Bay Packers fan, strategically planned the wedding to between Packers' playoff games and what she (and many of us) hoped to be a Packers' Superbowl. It turns out football wouldn't be on their side either.
Still, they married on Saturday, Jan. 30 at home in front of their children and siblings. They plan to celebrate with family and friends this summer and are exploring honeymoon ideas for when it's safe to travel.
When Volunteer Services paused during the pandemic, Deb and Terry unknowingly applied for the same valet position at Gundersen - and both landed the job. That's where you'll find them working today, and their overlapping schedules allow them to remain close while on the job.
Someday, Deb and Terry plan to reduce their volunteer hours so they can slow down a bit and enjoy this age together.
Deb and Terry, your Gundersen family wishes you happiness and adventure in your next chapter!
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