Introducing Jeff and Teri Burks
MSAV: Tell us about yourselves and how you two met.
TERI AND JEFF: We met online somewhere around 1997 or 98 as best we can remember. We both were in the “chat rooms” at that time. We went to a specific 40’s Love Room … not looking for love, but just conversation with faceless people from all over the world. He met me as Tj and I met him as George ‘O Jungle. I loved his quick wit, and he found my “humor” attractive. We started to talk more and more frequently and before long, he asked how I would feel about him coming in and meeting me. I gave it some thought and eventually agreed he could come to my house in Northern Illinois. Jeff was born and raised in Big Island, VA and me, in Madison, WI. I was your fairly straight laced…occasionally liked to party…midwestern country singing gal at the karaoke bar scenes. I had 3 kids plus foreign exchange students and had worked for the local Rescue Squad for many years. I taught Sunday School and was Co-President of our schools PTA. Jeff was working with the Roanoke Times by then after having worked down in New Orleans for years out in the gulf on Oil Rigs. He would come in after 2 weeks on and pack up and travel following the Grateful Dead all over the Country! His music was FAR from my style. Talk about opposites attract LOL
MSAV: What is the biggest strength of your relationship?
TERI AND JEFF: We’ve been tested many times throughout our marriage. When we married, we vowed in good times and in bad…in sickness and in health and we knew from our previous marriages (both of us married once prior) we would always have to take everything ONE DAY AT A TIME….until life dealt us blow after blow beginning just 2 short years into our journey together. We then learned to take it hour by hour and some days…minute by minute.
MSAV: What do you do together for fun?
TERI AND JEFF: NOW…we love pretty much the same TV shows. Cop shows are where our interest lies. We got hooked on 24 years ago…watching back-to-back episodes with as many as 6 or 7 hours worth of shows at a time. Before M.S. and all medical roadblocks, we loved to travel and go camping in our 71 VW Volkswagen Bus. We eventually started our own Naturalbus Camping annual event raising money for The Roanoke Ronald McDonald House. We spent a lot of time in that bus. I miss those days.
MSAV: What is the best vacation you have taken together and why was it the best?
TERI AND JEFF: This is hard to answer for sure. EVERY trip we have taken together has been the BEST! Two stand out though for me…the first trip we took to New Orleans to see The NOLA SAINTS play at The Superdome and the other would be the time we headed out west together. Stopping first at The Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA, just to throw the ball around a few bases, my sister-in-law was an extra in that movie filmed close to our home. Through Mitchell, SD we stopped at The Corn Palace and then on to Wall Drug to get our nickel cup of water. The Badlands and the “Heads” as Jeff refers to the famous Mt. Rushmore in Keystone, SD were the next in line for us to experience together. Stopped to see The Devil’s Tower in WY after leaving Deadwood and Crazy Horse Monument & Sturgis. Spending time in Cody, WY, we attended a rodeo and the museums there were great even if it was the second time for me. Visiting Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park., and the Mudpots and seeing up close and personal the moose, bears, elk etc… was awesome! Crossing the Continental Divide while driving Bear Tooth Pass, we stopped on June 22nd to have a snowball fight! Then through the mountains of the East Rim leaving Yellowstone. On our way home we had to make a stop in Fargo, ND because Jeff loved the movie Fargo…Nothing else in Fargo! However, not too far from there is the MALL of AMERICA which was a MUST for me having taken my girls there many years before for Graduation Shopping Trips! Like I said Kristi…every trip we take is amazing.
MSAV: What is your number one piece of advice for a successful marriage?
TERI AND JEFF: BE HONEST! DON’T go to bed angry…even if one of you has to “cave” and say okay for tonight I need my kiss and whatever comes naturally because NO ONE is guaranteed tomorrow, and WE KNOW THAT better than many…
MSAV: How did you get involved with the MS Alliance?
TERI AND JEFF: To THIS day, we do NOT remember how. If Suzanne or anyone else can help us out with this, we would greatly appreciate it!! LOL! I’m convinced God just led us to that first meeting in the back of a building down from the Tanglewood Holiday Inn. He introduced us to a new family that we would soon come to call our own! We are so blessed by all those we have met throughout my journey with Multiple Sclerosis. (p.s. we MAY have talked to someone at one of the yearly M.S. Walks we did since 2003 and on…we just do NOT recall) BRAINFART…I think I DO remember how we got started. There was a news brief on the event going on at the hotel for a M.S. weekend gathering. We saw it Sunday morning and came over that very morning…THAT is how we started with our M.S. family. The Alliance was formed long after we came on board. I believe it was post cancer and all the surgeries for that. Maybe somewhere around 2013 or 2014…?