If you ask Erin Henderson how long she's been with John, her husband, she'll say, "We've been together for dog's ages."
John and Erin met while working at Alternatives Industry in Oneida almost 12 years ago. A mutual friend, Jennifer Eaton, introduced them. On May 3, John and Erin will celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
"I haven't even thought about that (their first anniversary) yet," exclaims John.
"What do you get for your first anniversary anyway?" asks Erin, crinkling her nose looking around the room and then at John.
"I think you get paper," volunteered Suzanne Jones, a friend. Erin laughs and says she should get John a newspaper subscription to the local paper for his anniversary.
Madison Cortland ARC's Service Coordination department enables people with developmental disabilities and their families to find, utilize and coordinate available resources an opportunities in the community on the basis of individual need.
For John and Erin, that meant getting married, finding a home together and living independently.
When the couple met almost 12 years ago, John worked in the Food Processing Department at Alternatives Industry (AI). "I did whatever they needed me to do," said Erin, who worked in the manufacturing and product assembly areas of AI. They often lunched together in the break room. It took a while to get to know one another. They started dating in 1997, and they would go to movies, and fun events at Madison Cortland ARC. Erin and John were separated for a while when she lived in Cortland. "We missed each other," John said. So, when Erin moved back to the area, they resumed their relationship. The couple was engaged in December of 2007.
Erin giggles as she remembers how John proposed. "He gave me a ring and said, 'is that the one you wanted?' He didn't even get down on one knee or anything!"