By Elizabeth Gwilt
Call it young love, but 21-year-old Land O’ Lakes native Errol Keith and his new wife, 20-year-old Krystallyn Taylor, insist they are in it for the long run. The couple is in the Marine Corps and plan on serving their country in the upcoming years.
Keith and Taylor make their relationship work even when they’re separated.
“Trust and understanding is key,” said Keith. Taylor adds, “Plenty of phone calls, Skyping and visits whenever we can manage it keep us strong.”
Keith grew up in the Land O’ Lakes area where his mother still lives, while Taylor’s family hails from Georgia. Both are currently in California for school.
A six-month courtship followed after the couple met at a language institute in Monterrey, which led to them announcing their engagement this past August.
Keith and Taylor are studying to become linguists, and they have committed to at least three years of service. Keith is expected to be deployed to Afghanistan in the spring, and Taylor hopes to follow her husband, but she adds that nothing — even the guarantee of being deployed together — is ever certain in the military.
That’s why the couple got married Nov. 26 in an intimate ceremony, just in case something unexpected prevented them from being wed before getting deployed. They’re “getting married” again in a more traditional affair, Dec. 18 in Lutz.
“Getting married that Friday was a precaution,” Taylor said. “We are not going to let the military put our wedding on hold. We are looking forward to the wedding with family and friends though.”
Keith and Taylor are finding the wedding planning to be difficult, as Marines and students they don’t get paid much, and Taylor says that money is tight.
“I make basic pay, a couple hundred bucks, nothing luxurious,” she said.
Their financial situation, along with their dedication to the country, compelled others to begin helping the couple by donating services and items like flowers and food.
Keith’s mother, Michele, took the lead on organizing the wedding. She received plenty of support from her friends, including Ione James and Janice Karski.
“They don’t make much, but they’re great kids and really deserve a memorable day,” Keith said. “It’s nothing extravagant, but everyone is pitching in and doing what they can.”
Karski is paying for Taylor’s hair appointment, and James, who has made the groom’s birthday cakes since he was a child, is making the wedding cake herself.
“They are just like so many other couples, everyone is struggling nowadays,” James said. “The fact that they are putting their lives on the line for us made me all the more determined to help.”
The newlyweds say that they are extremely grateful to their families and friends.
“We appreciate it so much, everything they’ve done it going to make our day that much better. There were a lot of things we couldn’t do ourselves,” the groom said.
Taylor feels the same way, “Those amazing people can expect big hugs and thank-yous coming their way,” she said. “It gives me ramification in my heart, knowing that I’m serving extremely kind people like them.”
The more traditional wedding to includes the couple’s families and friends is taking place next week, but there is still a much to be done. Candles, a photographer, plates and cutlery are items that are yet to be purchased on their limited budget.
“We’re not looking for handouts, if someone wanted to donate—that’s awesome, but if anyone knows where we might be able to find cheaper or discounted items, it would be greatly appreciated,” Keith said.
She adds, “They are great kids with good heads on their shoulders. Even though they are young, they know what they want from life, and they love each other. Being brave marines just makes them all the more admirable.”
Lisa Kaley says
WOW….I just wish I was able to be across the country to help out. This is a wonderful story. Knowing the groom and his family makes it even more special. Good luck Errol and Krystallyn!