WRAL Gardens Now Open for Weddings
Eighty-nine-year-old Raymond Burnett & 80-year-old Helen Gaddy get married in the WRAL Gardens on May 11, 2013.
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The WRAL-TV Azalea Gardens have long been a “Destination Place” if you are ever in the area, especially at this time of the year. It has for several decades been a place of beauty, serenity and reflection.
Over the years it has been a place for senior citizen groups to visit, a place to take your prom/ yearbook pictures, a place for employees to escape for moments of quiet devotion.
The gardens have given countless treasured memories for couples who celebrated their nuptials in this natural setting.
Garden weddings had been suspended for several years due to the construction/renovation of the new building and property-grounds maintenance. The gardens are once again open to wedding ceremonies and can be booked through Corporate Property Manager Tim Grissom or his able assistant Rodney Collier. Recently a very special couple did just that this is their story.
Raymond Burnett, Sr., having been married to Virginia Leake Burnett for more than 70 years, never gave any thoughts to life without her. His beloved Virginia passed away two years ago and he has missed her dearly. She was the mother of his five children and was always there for him. She helped him run his various business ventures throughout the years and they would read the Bible together every evening before retiring.
The WRAL Gardens provide the backdrop for the wedding of Raymond Burnett & Helen Gaddy.
When her illness took away that routine, his love for her helped him overcome the loss of those special moments. They were replaced with his devoted care and making sure her every need was satisfied. Upon her death, his grieving was constant and he turned to his faith to help him overcome the empty space in his life. His daughter, Hazel, would call him nightly to read the Bible with him, to help him bridge the loss…and return to his routine.
In trying to bring back some structure to his life, it was revealed that he needed companionship that his children couldn’t give him with their busy lives and families. When he was urged to seek someone to help fill the void left after having spent those wonderful years with Virginia, his prayers were answered
He met an old childhood friend while visiting his old home church and wrestled with the idea of making a new beginning in his life. After a series of long talks, dinner “dates” and church visits, he decided that the Lord was giving him a possible companion who could share his life and fill the emptiness.
After much prayer and countless discussions with his family and friends, he decided to listen to his heart…and most importantly, to accept that his prayers were indeed answered.
Ms. Helen Gaddy of Spring Hope, NC graciously consented to become his wife on Saturday, May 11, 2013, in the beautiful WRAL Azalea Gardens in Raleigh, NC. Ms. Gaddy, after consulting her own five children and reflecting on her similar desire for companionship, now will share her life with a Christian man who will once again have a bible-reading partner.
(Mr. Burnett is the father-in-law of WRAL-TV Producer/Director Clarence Williams, who is married to Burnett’s daughter, Deborah.)
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clarence Williams for this capcom story & for thse capcom photos.