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September 25, 2013

Mich. bride shatters elbow but still says 'I do'

The Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — It wasn’t the plunge she had in mind.

But moments before Janet Harris, 66, was to wed, she tumbled down the stairs at an event hall in Holly and shattered her elbow.

Still, this bride wasn’t going to let her injuries get in the way of her saying “I do.”

In an abbreviated ceremony — with Harris sitting instead of standing — she wed Lester Perzanowski, 66, at the Holly Hotel on Sept. 14.

“I asked her,” Perzanowski said. “Do you want to just postpone this?”

But Harris wanted to go through with it. And the nearly three dozen guests, some of whom had flown in from out of state, had already arrived.

“The minister had said to me, ‘Do you know who I am?’ And I said ‘Yes,’ ” Harris said. “He goes ‘Do you know who you’re marrying?’ And I said ‘Yes, Lester.’ ”

The couple, from Livonia, took their vows and sealed their marriage with a kiss. Then paramedics treated Harris and took her to Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc in an ambulance.

“It just epitomized how much love that her and Lester share,” said the Rev. Mark Raitz, who married the couple. “Even through the pain and even through what she had experienced… nothing was going to stop it.”

Perzanowski later jokingly said: “I told her she fell for me head over heels.”

In sickness and in health

Harris missed the reception, but most of her guests and her new husband were there.

“It’s a shame that I wasn’t there. That’s probably the worst part of it,” she said. “I guess the best part of it is I am married in God’s eyes now.”

Harris was transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and underwent surgery last week. She said her elbow has been replaced by an artificial one.

Now she’s recovering at home, with her husband at her side, and is scheduled to return to the doctor on Thursday.

“I’m taking care of her,” Perzanowski said. “That’s my job.”

They’ve put their honeymoon to Gatlinburg, Tenn., on hold as she recovers, they said.

“For better, for worse wasn’t supposed to happen so quickly,” Harris said.

A lucky day

Although the wedding didn’t turn out as they’d envisioned, Harris said it’s another chapter in their lives.

The couple met in 2010 when Harris, a real estate agent, helped Perzanowski’s mother find a new home. She’s been married once before, and he has been married twice — he is widowed and divorced.

“I’ve been a pastor for 18 years, and I’ve never had that experience,” Raitz said of Harris’ accident.

Perzanowski said he considers it lucky that Harris wasn’t hurt worse.

“I hope it means a bright horizon,” Harris said. “All we can do is go forward from here.”

Copyright 2013 The Detroit Free Press

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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