Posted by Jessica and Jim Aiello on Feb 13, 2019
A Rotary story for Valentine's Day! 

Rotary Club of Harrisburg Keystone, Pennsylvania

Jim: I got selected for Group Study Exchange in 2012. The Harrisburg Keystone club was sponsoring me, so I figured I would go thank them. Jessica was the president. I sat down, and I was like, “That woman is really pretty. I need to come back here.”

Jessica: He went to Scotland, and when he came back, we formed a friendship. For those first few years, we both dated different people off and on. When those relationships ended, we would sit down over a beer and complain about how dating was so stressful. Meanwhile, one of our mutual friends in the club was putting bugs in our ears: “What about Jim? What about Jessica? Why isn’t it something more?”

Jim: There was an undercurrent in our club of members trying to get us together. I was like, “Wow, she’s beautiful,” and I enjoyed being with her, but I didn’t want to mess up a friendship.

Jessica: I found a great job in Virginia, so I decided to take it. While I was getting ready to move, Jim and I spent more and more time together. I started to realize, “This guy is a wonderful friend, but I see that there could be something more.”

Jim: It was a glass of red wine that was the turning point.

Jessica: We had dinner one night, and that led to a kiss. At first I said, “Let’s back off; I want to get settled in Fredericksburg first.” But after not talking to him for even a few days, I missed him so much. That led to a decision to try out a long-distance relationship.

Jim: A week before she moved, we were at a Rotary party, and I was like, “I’m just going to kiss you in front of everyone.”

Jessica: That sort of let the cat out of the bag. We dated long distance for almost two years, and finally I moved back to Harrisburg. At every club meeting, members can give a “happy dollar” to our sergeant-at-arms, and then you get 15 seconds to make an announcement. So Jim gave a happy dollar and said, “I proposed to Jessica, and she said yes.”

Jim: Our wedding officiant worked Service Above Self into his speech, and we had about 20 Rotarians there.

Jessica: Rotary has strengthened our relationship, because we can volunteer at the food bank or pick up trash together — something active that’s making the world a better place. I’ve always wanted to be with somebody who cared as much about others as I do, and I’ve definitely found that in Jim.

If I meet somebody I think would be good for a fellow Rotarian, I’m not shy about saying, “Hey, would you want to have a drink with this person?” We have not had any club members get engaged through our setups yet, but we’re working on it.

Jim: I’ll get one before the end of the year. I feel it.



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