Fall in Love With 20 Essential Couples Who Are Making a Difference on Valentine's Day and Beyond

This Valentine's Day weekend, E! News is celebrating 20 couples who find themselves in essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Mike Vulpo Feb 14, 2021 11:00 AMTags
Watch: "Valentine's Day" Turns 10!: E! News Rewind

This Valentine's Day, love is in the air—but so is the coronavirus.

For many couples, the most romantic day of the year is going to look quite a bit different in select states as COVID-19 continues to put a pause on indoor dining, movie night at the theater and other traditions. One thing the pandemic can't stop, however, is the celebration of love.

While E! News is always here with the scoop on your favorite Hollywood romances, we also want to recognize a few ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things day after day. Today, the spotlight is on couples who both serve as essential workers during the pandemic.

In San Diego, Calif., Jennifer Fitzgerald spends her day as a COVID-19 nurse while her husband Kyle Fitzgerald serves as a police officer and SWAT team member. When their shifts come to an end, they are more than grateful to have each other.

"Despite the uncertainty and obstacles we have both faced in our respective professions this year, I am honored to be on the frontlines, serving my community alongside my husband Kyle," Jennifer told E! News. "Both of our roles can be emotionally and physically draining, so it's nice to have that unwavering support and love at home."

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Essential Workers and Dads During the Coronavirus

Kyle added, "2020 gave us both tremendous challenges, but because of our love for each other, and our passion for our chosen professions, we have grown stronger. I know with her, we can weather any storm, or even a pandemic."

Thanks to their commitment to each other and their community, Jennifer and Kyle are just one of the many couples worth celebrating this Valentine's Day.

Keep scrolling to meet 20 couples from across the country and around the world making a difference for their partners and the cities they call home. To them, we say thank you!

Jennifer Fitzgerald & Kyle Fitzgerald

COVID-19 Nurse and SWAT Team Member/Police Officer

+ San Diego, California

Jennifer: "Kyle is always there to support me after a rough shift, or in this case, a rough year. I am thankful for Kyle's ability to make me laugh and to diffuse some of the stress and anxiety that comes with being a COVID-19 nurse throughout a global pandemic. As we healthcare workers continue to encounter new challenges during these unprecedented times in our country and worldwide, we continue to go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to our patients in need."

Kyle: "I am thankful for my wife for many reasons, and proud of her for many more. Since the global pandemic struck the United States, Jennifer has worked tirelessly on a COVID dedicated hospital floor helping those who need her most. I am continuously amazed at her ability to be compassionate, and stay strong in the face of adversity. Jennifer's dedication is an inspiration, and reminds me why we work so hard for the community we serve, and for each other."

Carol Myers & Paris Adams

Registered Nurse and Radiology Imaging Support Specialist 

+ Orlando, Florida

Paris: "Carol, I am thankful for the hard work, love and dedication you provide our family as well as your patients. It is a truly humbling experience to be loved by you. This is our second Valentine's Day together, as well as a milestone marker anniversary and I am thankful for your presence in my life as well as the time we spend connecting. I love you."

Carol: "You are the love of my life and everyday with you feels like Valentine's Day. You are so good to me, Paris. You nurture me, you inspire me, you make sacrifices for me. Thank you for allowing me to have the privilege to love you. I am honored and grateful. You are my forever Valentine."

Mary Ram & Robert Ram

Emergency Room Nurse and Deputy Sheriff

+ Orange County, Calif. 

"I am extra thankful for my husband, who continues to be an incredible example of integrity and love in this crazy world," Mary gushed to E! News.

Dr. Heavenly Kimes & Dr. Daymond Kimes

Dentist and Pain Management Specialist, Stars of Bravo's Married to Medicine

+ Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Damon: "I am so thankful to have a living wife that I can always count on. I thank God this Valentine's Day and every day for blessing me with Heavenly."

Dr. Heavenly: "I'm so happy this Valentine's Day for Dr. Damon, a loving man that knows as a husband he has to lead by praying, protecting and providing for his family. I feel so blessed. "

Dr. Cassie Majestic & Chris Nigg

Emergency Room Doctor and Fire Chief

+ Orange County, California

"I am so grateful for the love and sense of normalcy I have at home with Chris," Dr. Cassie shared with E! News. "He understands the physical and emotional struggles of being on the front lines during this pandemic. The past year has been a true testament of how strong our relationship is through such unparalleled times."

Dustin Ecker & Keanna Funderburk

Fourth Grade Teacher and Fifth Grade Teacher

+ Indianapolis, Indiana and Atlanta, Georgia

Dustin: "I can't ever seem to find the words to adequately express just how grateful I am for Keanna. The way that we love, support and encourage one another on a daily basis has helped to keep us both grounded during an otherwise chaotic year."

Keanna: "I'm grateful for Dustin because he always supports me and my ideas no matter how cooky they are. I admire how each and every day, he strives to be a better man for our future together."

Dr. Alex Cimini & Dr. Maria D Martinez

Eye Doctors

+ Miami, Florida

"I'm grateful for so much but especially for you," Dr. Maria shared with E! News. "Thank you for being my rock during these times. I love you always." 

Devon Blair & Chris Blair

Smart & Final Grocery Store Managers

+ San Diego, California 

Devon: "I am blessed to have married my best friend, soulmate, and partner in all shenanigans. I want nothing more than to be everything he'll ever need." 

Chris: "It wasn't until I met Devon that I knew what true love was all about, knew what Valentine's Day was supposed to be about. Devon and I, we're what has come to be known as essential workers. We, along with our teams, provide the daily necessities that many people and families rely on. I rely on Devon. She is my rock. She is what has helped get me through this weird time that we all find ourselves in. She is the love of my life. Someone who has helped me understand what it is to truly love someone with my whole heart. What more could Saint Valentine wish for on this, his holiday?"

Kanoe Tabata & Scott Tabata

UPS Drivers

+ Honolulu, Hawaii

Kanoe: "I am extra thankful for my husband because he has been my calm and light in this COVID storm. We have been able to stay safe together and there's no one I would rather have by my side."

Scott: "Our normal busy season is usually during Christmas. But it's been Christmas since COVID started at UPS. I'm thankful my wife and I were able to stick together and prove that we really are life partners and we can get through anything."

Nathan Miller & Courtney Miller

Police Officers

+ Nueces County, Texas 

"Since we have the same job, we have been able to support one another when dealing with the extra challenges the year 2020 has brought to an already challenging and often misunderstood job," Courtney shared with E! News. "We are so thankful that we have each other to love unconditionally during these difficult times!" 

Kim Mercier & Dan Mercier

Dumpling Personal Grocery Shoppers

+ Bothell, Washington 

Kim: "I am so thankful for Dan's servant heart. Dan has always served our family, but having the opportunity to work with Dan in our grocery delivery business has shown me how his servant's heart filters out into everything he does. Dan always has others in mind, from how he interacts with store employees, to offering to help another shopper reach something on the top shelf...Dan is truly a treasure and I'm so thankful to have him as my husband!"

Dan: "Kim is a great mom and a wonderful wife! It's been quite a year—dealing with COVID-19, three kids doing online schooling, taking care of everything she does on a daily basis as a mom, taking on the challenge of our Dumpling personal shopper/delivery business and all of the risk during this pandemic. It has left me in awe as I've watched her do it all so well."

Nicolet Finger & Joshua Hernandez

Resident Physicians 

+ Bexar County, Texas

Nicolet: "Joshua strikes the perfect balance in our relationship between encouraging me to be the best version of myself, while loving and supporting me where I'm at. I am extra thankful for his ability to bring me to a positive headspace, whether I'm feeling inspired to tackle the day or discouraged from the stress of this pandemic."

Joshua: "Having someone who supports me and understands the struggle of working in healthcare during this pandemic has made the burden bearable. Together we are able to share the burden of our struggles but also multiply our triumphs which has given us the strength to return to care for our patients each day."

Monica Anderson & Jerrod Anderson

Emergency Room Nurses 

+ Pulk County, Florida

"You have been nothing but a blessing to me!" Monica recently shared on Instagram. "You are my favorite person and you mean the world to me! Let's keep doing this forever! You are My HERO! I love you l, I love you, I love you!" 

Temeaka Gray El & Sheik Christopher Gray El

Nurse Practitioner and Supply Chain Tech

+ Ohio

"We are extra thankful for each other this year because in times of chaos, uncertainty, instability and fear, we are blessed to be able to come home to stability love, support and understanding of each other," the couple shared with E! News. 

Rikki Brousseau & John Kukulewich

Firefighters

+ South Frontenac, Canada 

"We are expecting our first baby in March this year so with all of the challenges the world has brought we are definitely extra thankful for our health, our baby and each other!" the couple told E! News. Congratulations! 

Dakota Tharp & Abby Tharp

High School History Teacher and High School Math Teacher 

+ Baltimore County, Maryland

"I am extra thankful for my husband this Valentine's season because of the support and encouragement he's been to me as we teach through the pandemic together," Abby shared with E! News. "He makes the bad days better."

Dr. Asra Mazhar & Dr. Malik Nizamuddin

Family Medicine Physician and Internal Medicine Physician 

+ Seattle, Washington

"We are frontline physicians in the middle of a pandemic," the couple shared with E! News. "At the end of the day, no matter how difficult, we are in this together. The tough times, the great times and everything in between."

Robert Mariniello & Emily Mariniello

Paramedics

+ Hampshire, United Kingdom

"I'm so grateful for this husband, super dad and paramedic," Emily gushed to E! News. "He's worked so hard throughout this pandemic and we are so proud!" 

Sabrina Denny & Stuart Knight

Paramedics

+ East Anglia, United Kingdom

"I'm grateful I've found someone who loves me just the way I am," Sabrina shared with E! News. "Even after eight years, he still makes me laugh."

Jenny Hawkins & Craig Hawkins

PuroClean Franchise Owners

+ Woodinville, Washington

Jenny: "I am so thankful for my husband as he works tirelessly every day to help our PuroClean teams serve our community experiencing property damage. Over the last year, he has continued to give himself to helping others...Craig enjoys working with people and problem solving to improve our client's quality of life. Craig, thank you for all you do—I am so honored to be your wife!" 

Craig: "My wife  is the most beautiful, amazing, and intelligent woman I know. We pray about every decision we make together in life. We are true believers that opposites attract, and this helps us create a well-balanced team together."

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.