SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Once again the nomination period for the 2020 Longest Married Couple Project, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, has been extended until the end of August because of the continued growth of the COVID-19 pandemic across the United States, it was announced today by the co-coordinators of the project.
"As with the last extension we decided that for the safety and medical awareness for all involved it would be much better to extend the nomination period," said Dick & Diane Baumbach and Bryan & Karen Berland, the national WWME Longest Married Couple Project co-coordinators.
While nominations have been coming in from all over the United States, they have been submitted at a much lower rate than has been seen in previous years. "Normally we receive 300 to 400 nominations, but currently we are at just about 100," the co-coordinators said.
In the previous nine years of the project the national and state winners have been recognized and personally honored in June, but because of the high impact medically on all age groups due to the coronavirus, it was decided that the recognition period will be on October 10th of this year.
"We are also considering for the first time, virtual recognition of the national and state winners along with acknowledging all those nominated for this prestigious honor," the co-coordinators said adding, "We truly are hopeful that in person honoring can be done, but we also realize that many of the honorees are married 70 to 80 years and, thus, their ages are in the 90s and 100s, and we want to be protective of the winners."
The WWME national leadership team, Tony & Sue Morris and Fr. Tom Ogg, will conduct either the virtual or in person recognition of the Longest Married Couple national winners on the October 10th date.
The project honors one national winner and winners from each of the 50 states and U.S. territories.
As in the previous nine years of the project, nominations are following the same pattern, with families and friends from all over the country submitting names of couples that have long marriages.
"The project was created 10 years ago to yearly honor the commitment of married couples and to give hope to younger couples - that they can have long and lasting marriages," the co-coordinators said. "You can go to wwme.org to find out more information and to nominate couples."
Nominations, which are open to all husband and wife couples regardless of faith expression, may also be submitted by email, regular mail or by calling a special phone number.
The information for sending in a nomination requires the name of the couple, their wedding date and what city and state they reside in, while the nominator needs to include their name plus a phone number or email address so they can be contacted if their nominee is a national or state winner. Upon determination of the winners, initial contact is made by WWME with nominators, not directly with the winning couple.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter, which now offers virtual marriage enrichment experiences, gives married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. It offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about the Worldwide Marriage Encounter experiences online, go to wwme.org, or contact the WWME Office at (909) 332-7309.