Groom’s Party

The gentlemen in my party are all some of the most genuine and fraternal of any men I know. Some I’ve known since I was a kid, and a couple I’ve only known for a short while, but all of them are amazing people that have affected both mine and Colie’s life in an amazing way. I won’t go too crazy during these introductions (there are speeches to come later, afterall). So, without further ado…

Best Man

David Banks

Dave and I have been friends since our freshman year of high school, but we really didn’t hit it off until our sophomore year. Sitting next to each other in English, we instantly became the pair of clowns in the classroom, and every year of school after that found us sharing at least a few classes where we became known as “those two, smart, tall guys”.

Being in the honors program at Owasso High, there was a ton of homework to be done, and being in band also meant that we wound up spending a lot of time working together… while also taking the occasional breaks to play Halo during a five hour calculus party. We had our fair share of getting into trouble (sorry Mrs. Zamor) driving our pair of “vintage” vehicles (my ’91 Maxima that beeped at you randomly and would try and kill you with the automatic seatbelts, Dave with his ’70-something Diesel Mercedes that towards the end of its life we had to push backwards with the door open to go in reverse) through town, and of course being known in our school for our antics. Some of said antics include commandeering the PA system for made-up NHS “announcements” during school, asking oddly irrelevant questions at the end of lectures, breaking Mrs. Z’s stapler and of course finding the newest, viral Youtube videos and playing them to lighten the mood after a test (Schfifty-five anyone?).

Once high school was over, and Dave and I graduated (we were 12th and 13th in our class – who was 12th changes depending upon who tells the story) and wound up going separate ways for college… but only for class. Invariably we would have at least a few meetings throughout the year, either in Fayetteville or Stillwater where Dave went to school and live it up, and during the summers while we would both work we’d still find time to hang out. And no matter what, we still talked on the phone periodically to tell each other of the crazy professors, crazier students and fun times in college.

Move ahead to today, I can remember telling Dave about Nichole, and ultimately him meeting her for the first time, where at Eskimo Joe’s he told me he “approved” and knew great things were yet to come. Dave has always been there for me, and jumped at the opportunity to join Nichole and I on this day, and I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for me!


The Groomsmen

Jacob Smith

My brother, Jacob I have known since I was only 5 and a half years old. I can remember the day he was born, when we went to meet him at the hospital and I found out that babies can still bite hard even without their teeth. We hit it off instantly, and from that point on we had what can only be described as an amazing sibling relationship. He’s been there through every up and every down in my life, and the amazing thing with Jacob is that he always was there with a smile and a wry joke. No kidding, Jake has a sense of humor like none other and his timing is impecable. Being five years apart we hardly ever fought, and when we did it wasn’t very bad. Truly, Jacob was my ego boost growing up, always wanting to do what I wanted to do and hang with my friends whenever they were over.

Honestly, I have a lot of respect for Jacob. He’s had to deal with more than most, and through it all I have never seen him be outwardly mean or even harsh with anyone intentionally. When Colie first met Jacob, he was immediately drawn to how “fun and happy” she seemed. The day he started calling her sissy I knew she was in the family – change doesn’t come easily for Jacob, so she had to be a part of the family from that point on! 😀 My brother has been with me through everything, and kept me laughing and smiling for most of it, so OF COURSE he was going to be standing with me on Colie’s and my wedding day.

Mark Henderson

Mark Henderson and I met – of all places – at band camp in Arkansas. He was my floor captain in the dorms, and my roommate and I would bribe him with Moon Pies and other food to get “late lights” each night, where we would all sit around and goof off in my room because we would deck it out in lava lamps, christmas lights and, yes… more food. In high school Mark and I met a few more times at places such as all-region and all-state. Being the band-nerds that we are almost every opportunity to do something band related between contests, solo/ensemble, etc. we would run into each other. That was one of the awesome things about being in band in high school – all of the opportunities to make friends from other places.

Once high school was over, I went to the University of Arkansas and who do I meet on the first day of Marching Band Early Week but Mark Henderson, still sporting his signature goatee. What my friend Dave was in High School Mark quickly became in college. We wound up rushing KKΨ together that Fall in 2004 and have been best friends since, even serving as the president and vice president together for two years. We played in ensembles together, usually were part of a group on every band trip, had SingStar parties and kept each other sane throughout college. When we both graduated he made his way to Perry, OK where he is now the Head Band Director for the Perry High School band Program. When I moved to Stillwater, it was like old times again, and he was one of the best parts about moving there, and we’ve made sure to keep up with each other and still continue to meet up, hang out and make new memories.

Jordan Gilbertson

I met Jordan Gilbertson on the first day of Early week my Junior year of college. I was the president of KKΨ and his mother, and alum of our sister chapter at Arkansas, saw my letter shirt and told Jordan to “talk to him – he’s in KPsi!” Jordan joined the fraternity that fall and what started as a pseudo-mentor relationship has turned into a great friendship. Jordan is one of those people that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, and his family is the same way – they ALWAYS put us up when we come by to visit or are just passing through. Jordan and I are both tech guys (I fall on the right-brain side of tech, he the left-brain), both band nerds, and both extraordinarily stubborn! But we’re still great friends and brothers.

Jordan graduated from Arkansas and promptly married his wife Stephanie, who actually manages to keep him in line. They are a fantastic example of a loving couple, and I was ecstatic for Jordan when he announced he was engaged. They now live in Texas, but Jordan and I still manage to stay in touch and keep the nerd-iness up on facebook and rooting on our Razorbacks, and I cannot wait to have him as one of my groomsmen.

Corey Collett

Corey Collett is another guy I met through Kappa Kappa Psi. He rushed the year after I graduated from Arkansas, but since I was still in the area I stayed pretty involved and got to know Corey through the chapter at the time. He instantly became one of the most dedicated people I knew – dedicated not just to the chapter, but truly devoted to his friends. While our personalities butted heads from time to time, our senses of humor are such that we always found a way to work it out and strengthen our friendship (not to mention compile a huge list of inside jokes). We both have travelled and done things in other parts of the country, but we have always found time to facetime, skype or chat and talk about any number of things that we can “collectively gripe about”.

Corey and his girlfriend Anna (my little sister in TBΣ) were two of the first people I told about Nichole. They were there when I skyped with her during our EPIC New Year’s celebration shortly after Colie and I started dating, and after getting off of the phone Anna gushed about how beautiful she was and Corey (in his typical fashion) gave me a friendly punch in the shoulder and gave me one of those “you lucky dog” looks, before giving me a hug and remarking “they grow up so fast”. They both knew how happy I was, and Corey made sure to keep up with every step of the relationship on facebook. Corey is a true gentleman, and my party wouldn’t be complete without him.

Evan Thompson

Evan Thompson has actually known both Nichole and I around the same amount of time. Being on of the first new friends I made after moving to Stillwater, whenever he was in town (his job within the fraternity keeps him on the road 6-8 months a year) we would usually do dinner and grab a drink/play shuffleboard with friends. I felt he was a kindred spirit with the SEC since he was a graduate of South Carolina and was a through and through Gamecock fan. However, Evan is one of those people that is a true Southern Gentleman. He is professional and friendly with most anyone he meets, and he defends his friends with zeal.

When I brought Nichole into town one night last Spring, we went to Joe’s and met up with a few folks who were in town, including Evan. His first comment was “I like her… she looks like she could take you. You need that!” His sarcastic wit meshed well with her personality, and a night of playing Soul Calibur between all of us and that was that. Evan has been a HUGE support for both Nichole and I this past year and has been someone we could go to for anything. He has a love of life and a humor that fits well with anyone, and is someone with sage advice who knows when to give it and when to listen. He’s a wonderful coworker, but a great friend!