Valentine's Day 2023

Trip and Stephanie Chalkley

Trip and Stephanie Chalkley met when she, a sixth-grade teacher at Washington-Henry Elementary, brought him in as a guest speaker to tell her students about the law. At the time Trip, now the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Hanover, was a defense attorney, and she wasn’t impressed with his attitude. When he invited her to have a drink with him, much to her surprise that first date lasted five hours, and three months later they were engaged. The Chalkleys married in 1989. The couple has one grown son.

Chalkley 1989

Tabitha and Michael Crea

Tabitha Crea of Public Utilities and her husband Michael are from New Jersey. They were introduced in 2012 through a mutual friend at karaoke. “We quickly fell in love and in 2014 were engaged to be married!”, Tabitha says. The Creas welcomed their daughter in 2016 and completed their family with a son in 2019. When her husband was offered a promotion in Virginia, “we relocated to Mechanicsville in January 2022 and are happy to call Virginia home,” she says.

Ginny and Mark Ferguson

Ginny Ferguson of Social Services and her husband Mark met through the Style Weekly personals and are “still ecstatically in love after all these years.” Ginny has worked for Hanover County for 27 years and Mark recently retired from the Richmond Times-Dispatch after 44 years. As for Style Weekly, “he worked odd hours and thought print was a good avenue to meet someone,” Ginny says. “I answered the ad because I was trying to get my then-roommate out to meet someone. We both liked, and still do, movies, music and travel.” The Fergusons have two children, the older one working in broadcast journalism following in his father’s footsteps.


Jonathan and Tristin Firth

Jonathan Frith of Parks & Recreation and his wife Tristin were set up by a mutual friend and met in a restaurant in Louisa County. But their first true date, Jonathan recalls, was at Dave and Busters in Short Pump. “First game we played, we won the jackpot. Totally symbolic of our relationship,” Jonathan says. The Friths have been married for four years and have two young children.

Wanda and Bradley Paine

Wanda Paine of Public Works and her husband Bradley were married by “Elvis” in Las Vegas! They even took the Mechanicsville Local with them for the ‘ceremony’. The Paines have three grown children and love spending weekends together at the beach, traveling to NASCAR races and hanging out at home playing pool and shuffleboard or outside hanging by the fire pit.

Paines with Elvis

Jonathan and Ashlee Passmore

Jonathan and Ashlee Passmore are two County employees who are married to each other. Jonathan is with the Facilities Department and Ashlee with the Sheriff’s Office. Married in 2016, they have four young children. Jonathan has a message for his beloved: “Between working, Ashlee in college full time, and running kids back and forth to practices and events, we live a pretty busy life. I could write so much more about Ashlee and everything she has accomplished and is currently accomplishing, but without her our household would fall apart. She definitely keeps our family grounded in the midst of all the craziness at home. I love you Ashlee, Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Trena and Darrell Ponton

Trena Ponton of Purchasing and her husband Darrell have been married for 13 years. “We met online almost 2 years prior to ‘my’ asking him to marry me”, says Trena. “One day I basically asked him ‘if I was to get down on my knee and asked you to marry me what would you say?’ His response, ‘I’d tell you better get up from there before you hurt yourself.’ Honestly, he never said ‘yes’, but he did say ‘I do. Combined, the Pontons have three grown children and five beautiful grandchildren.

Greg Teri Smithson

Teri and Greg Smithson

When Teri Smithson of the Voter Registrar’s Office was a student at Patrick Henry High School, she passed a note to her classmate Greg asking, “Do you love me? Check the block Yes or No”. Greg said Yes and they became high school sweethearts at 15. After 40 years of marriage, they are still ‘high school sweethearts’. They were married at Hanover Courthouse. Greg also was a longtime County employee before retiring two years ago. The Smithsons have two grown daughters and five grandchildren.

Rebecca and Brian Strader

Rebecca Strader of the CSB and her husband Brian met each other while taking a break from college and got married, but life had some twists and turns for them. “We were married and started a family, then both decided we needed to go back and finish our undergraduate degrees, then we both went to graduate school and are both working on licenses” says Rebecca. All this while raising their family, which numbers two sons and two fur babies (dog). “So we started on totally different paths and then just kind of found one another and then figured out the rest of life together.” The Straders have been married for 15 ½ years.