Volunteering leads to marriage for Sudbury couple

Bette and Emile Lefave met when both were volunteering at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. Emile proposed on Valentine's Day six years ago and the two have been happily married for five.

She thinks he's genuine, he thinks she's perfect

A Valentine's Day proposal six years ago has led to five years of marriage for Health Sciences North volunteers Bette and Emile Lefave. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

There are many benefits to volunteering. It can give you a sense of purpose. You can learn new skills. You can make a difference in the world. And maybe you can even fall in love.

Bette is 78 years old. Emile is 83. Six years ago on Valentine's Day they got engaged and have since married. And their love affair started when both were volunteers at Health Sciences North in Sudbury.

When Emile and Bette first met at the hospital, Bette didn't pay much attention to him because Emile was being introduced to another woman.

When Emile called her a few days later, Bette's response was, "Emile who?" 

But the widower explained to the widow that they had met at the hospital. Bette agreed to go out with Emile for coffee and found out they had a lot in common.

"We found we had both raised families and we liked a lot of the same things. And that's where it started," said Bette.

One coffee led to another and another and another. "We met each other's families," said Bette. She has two children, Emile has four.

Six years ago, the two were on a Caribbean cruise when Emile proposed on Valentine's Day. 

And why did Bette say "yes?" "I think Emile is very, very honest," said Bette. "He has a wonderful sense of humour, a ready smile and he's just genuine, just real people," she said.

"We work as a team and we have respect for each other. And it just works."

As for Emile, he thinks Bette is perfect. "I have four children and they're treating Bette as well as they did their mother. That makes you feel good."


With files from Markus Schwabe


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