The Deacon's Bench

How’s this for a beautiful love story?

From a paper in Duluth:

Guests at the Bogen-Nicholson wedding in June will have an interesting tidbit when they describe the couple’s big day: The bride and groom served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Duluth native Leah Bogen and fiance Will Nicholson were eating breakfast and chatting about wedding plans on Sunday morning in their Maple Grove home. At the same time, Bogen was reading the newspaper and was struck by a story from Haiti that included leg amputations and unsafe medical conditions.

The contrast of the earthquake devastation and the party planning struck her.

She made a decision right then and there to donate the money they planned to spend on the reception dinner — 25 percent of their wedding budget — to people in Haiti. Her fiance didn’t need any convincing.

“She totally blew me away,” said Nicholson, a University of Minnesota Duluth graduate. “I’m still in awe. I was very impressed. How do you say anything but yes to that? It’s such a selfless and thoughtful thing. It’s hard to get excited about planning a wedding when other people are having such a terrible time.

“We’ve got friends and family who are happy and healthy and nearby and well-fed. My family doesn’t need another fancy meal.”

Within four hours, they had decided on an organization — Partners in Health — and had sent off $2,500. Nicholson works in a health-care field, and was familiar with their work.

“It’s an organization that has been in Haiti for a while, and we know they’ll be there forever,” said Bogen, who graduated from Duluth Central in 2003 and UMD in 2007.

Leah’s mother, Kathy Bogen, described the couple as humanitarians and altruistic, and said this decision is in step with the way they live.

“It was nice that they could look at what resources they have and realize they could change their plans to help other people,” said Kathy Bogen. “They’re very amazing young people. It gives me a lot of hope.”

Me, too. You can read more at the link.  And a grateful h/t to good old Austin.

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