By Jaimee Preston
Dynamic duos, perfect pairs, contented couples. Whatever they’re called these twosomes are committed to staying strong throughout the years. Read on to learn how these couples balance everyday pressures with making their love last.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” -Thoreau
In a classic pose, toes curling in a final hold to the high rise platform, the diver considers two options; take the leap with a certain entry into water or climb back down the ladder to the safety of dry land. Similarly, a family weighs their options; move across the country for the trending of unknown waters or stay put and never get their feet wet. The leap requires a certain courage and optimism not everyone can muster. So, in 2009, when Chris, Jessica, and Alexandra Heinze where faced with a new challenge, they readied their pose, and released their grip for a perfect dive in the direction of the Space Coast. “To this day I am overwhelmed by Jessica’s unwavering support of my profession. Not just now, but early in my career,” said Chris. “It is hard when your spouse has such a large time commitment away from home. Especially when we first moved here and had to roll up our sleeves with a new business. Still, to this day, I know Jessica is always there for me and that means the world to me.”
These days, the Heinze family has more than acclimated to their new surroundings, emerging as committed members in our community. Chris, at the Toyota/Scion dealership of Melbourne, actively strives to make an impact on Brevard County by supporting local organizations such as South Brevard Sharing Center and Friends of Children of Brevard. Jessica, a devoted mom, spends time volunteering and fundraising at their daughter Alexandra’s elementary school.
But, it isn’t strictly business and philanthropy for the Heinze family. “With our busy lives, we always try to take time to just laugh with each other and enjoy the moment together.”
When they’re not hard at work, they make the most of their watery surroundings. “We take our boat out to dinner or just to cruise the river. The water is tough to beat.” They said, with a vow never to take the ocean for granted.
After fourteen years of marriage, it seems that Chris and Jessica have found the perfect balance of love, work and play. So, what is their secret? Perhaps it’s their foundation of shared faith, values, goals and great sense of humor. Or, maybe, it’s because they’ve really learned live in the present. “Chris is very funny and spontaneous,” said Jessica. “I tend to plan everything. Yet, some of the best moments in our life together come when Chris encourages me to just live in the moment and enjoy the opportunities as they come.”
It is a windy, sunny, November morning in historic Eau Gallie arts district. Artisans alight Highland Avenue in a ‘plein-air’ festival of fine arts. Tom Powers is casually posed near a collection of his artwork, in the midst of this eclectic exhibition known to the community as ArtWorks. Under the awning of his booth, a mix of pastels that he’s expertly blended create the perfect barrel of a wave— a surfer’s fantasy.
The Guava Art House— a bright yellow building, with blue shutters, opens into an impressive studio and gallery space, an inspiring atmosphere for Tom to create. On one wall, a life-sized portrait of Tom hangs. The piece was originally commissioned by Dottie for his sixtieth birthday present. The portrait is an intricate collage, crafted with photos and pieces from their life together. Up close, a shadowed outline becomes a beautiful portrait of Dottie on their wedding day.
Natives to the Space Coast, Dottie first remembers noticing Tom at the beach. “He was always surfing.” She recalls fondly. However, it wasn’t until Dottie arrived at a college party, with another man, that Tom quickly realized he wanted to pursue her. “I waited to ask her out until they broke up.” Tom defends himself. A first date at the Melbourne Civic Center to see “Not Now Norman” seems a perfect foreshadowing to their current saturation in the art community. As Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tom was instrumental in the vital merging of the Foosaner Art Museum with the Florida Institute of Technology.
Together, Tom and Dottie strive to find the bigger picture in their own relationship and within their community. “The world has become too self-centered,” says Tom. “People need to learn how to converse, rather than argue, and accept each other’s differences.” Dottie nods in agreement. “My mother taught me to live by the golden rule. Treat people the way that you want to be treated. Assume the best in everybody.”
When was the last time a stranger walked straight over to your car, leaned in through the window and kissed you? In such event, it is safe to assume that any stranger could expect a swift slap across their face. It is doubtful that any of us have ever found ourselves in such unabashed circumstances. But, like all good love stories, an unlikely twist of fate, a serge of boldness and a kiss make for a great start to the story. Luckily for Jeff Piersall, this very bold introduction had just the effect he desired and subsequently no one got hurt. In fact, this stranger had the lady at “hello.”
Now, a mere thirty-two years after this spontaneous introduction, Judy happily calls this stranger “Coach.” It is her loving response to his enamored “Pretty Girl” nickname for her. Just in case this story isn’t charming enough for you sentimental souls, here’s another romantic detail. Judy, a flight attendant for Delta, is often required to wake in the very earliest hours of morning. On the day after our interview, Judy wrote me to include this special detail of their relationship. “For years, on the days that I have really early sign-ins for work, Jeff always brings me a cup of coffee to my dressing room as I am getting ready. Yesterday morning it was 3:30 a.m.” This is something that Jeff has never failed to do. “It’s pretty cool.” She wrote.
Jeff and Judy Piersall credit their successful relationship to the application of God’s principles and finding a balance in each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Jeff is the visionary and optimist, to Judy’s detail and realism. Judy, a volunteer for KLD Foundation, was the 2011, Dancing With Brevard Champion. Jeff is actively involved in a host of activities including, former Viera/Suntree Little League President, current Viera School Charter Vice-Chairman, Tourism Board of Directors, Melbourne Regional Chamber Board Member, KLD Foundation Board, Junior Achievement Board, United Way Board Member and he is the CEO and co-founder of Space Coast Business, LLC.
With three children, now grown, and each successfully pursuing dreams of their own Jeff and Judy are carving out the next phase in their relationship. In the adventure of their shared life, they keep these keys phrases in mind. “Dance with the one who brought you,” “You will be judged by your fruit, so focus on their cultivation,” “Persevere through the storms” and “Find the blessings in all situations.”