It was a sweet celebration of love at the Loveland Valentine’s Breakfast with the Valentine’s Ladies and Poetry Contest Winners

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND (February 14, 2020) – The breakfast pastries served for the 2020 Loveland Valentine’s Day Breakfast were not so sweet as the love that filled the air during the celebration of love at Loveland Presbyterian Church Valentine’s Day.  

2020 Loveland Valentine Lady Debbie Murrary (seated) listens as 2018 Valentine Lady Kay Bolin reads the nomination letter for Debbie Murray (Photo by Chuck Gibson)

Valentine’s Ladies past and present all dressed in red and wearing smiles filled the head table. Bill Hounshell, the Loveland Valentine’s ceremonial event emcee, kept the festivities moving and shared his own personal story of love. Valentine Card Artist Lily Hummer was honored.  2018 Valentine Lady Kay Bolin read the nomination letter honoring 2020 Valentine Lady Debbie Murray.

Still in awe of being named Valentine Lady for 2020, Murray shared some of her experiences meeting the school children during the season of love in Loveland.  Loveland Schools Superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse was the special presenter recognizing each of the school children selected as Poetry Contest winners. Listening to each student read their winning Valentine’s poem gave a special air of love to the celebration. Cee Cee Collins, Little Miami River Chamber Alliance President felt it maybe even more than in years past.  

Roman Lyke reads his winning Valentine’s Poem with his POP Pre-K/Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Alegmagno (Photo by Chuck Gibson)

“This is one of the first times you really felt what this event is about,” said Collins. “It really came together and, for me, it really felt like there’s love happening.”

Collins was grateful to Emcee “Pastor Bill” bringing light to the theme of the whole event: “There is nothing in the world so sweet as love.” She also noted the fact this year the breakfast was held on “the day” Valentine’s Day, February 14. Not to mention, there is nothing in the world so sweet as hearing Roman Lyke, winner of the Pre-K/Kindergarten age poetry contest, read his poem. A poem about his “very, very, very, very, very sweet and very, very, very, very, very soft” chicken named Ninja. Roman loves Ninja even if he does not love being in the spotlight on Valentine’s Day.

Roman’s sister Amalie Lyke kept it in the family winning the First & Second grade category with her “Valentine’s Day Party” poem. The Lyke family streak continued with the winning Third & Fourth grade “Hooray” poem from a quite dapper Theo Lyke dressed in a black suit with red shirt and black bow tie. William Moller stopped the Lyke family streak with his “Valentine’s” entry winning for Fifth & Sixth grade with “hearts of butterflies, listening for the sound of love.”

Loveland High School senior Lexi Duff has won the poetry contest for her class 10 times. LCSD Superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse listened as Duff read her 2020 Valentine Poetry winner (Photo by Chuck Gibson)

The High School age winner knows the sweetness of love, or at least writing poems about love. Lexi Duff has won the poetry contest in her class every year since Kindergarten – 10 years in a row.

“It’s mostly just I love the Hallmark Channel. I love love,” said Duff. “My birthday is on Valentine’s Day (18 today). Just being from Loveland, there is so much love. Poetry is not necessarily my thing, just love and Valentine’s Day.”

Duff is inspired by whatever is in her life at the time. In Kindergarten, it was “High School Musical”, her cat, “the silliest things” she says. Her poem this year said it all: “Everything I know about Love, I learned from Hallmark.” She’ll give everyone else a chance next year as she heads off to college at University of Cincinnati with a perfect record intact.

All the Valentine Poetry Contest winners posed together wtih Lyke family children up front: Amalie, Roman & Theo, In the back Card art winner Lilly Hummer with Dr. Amy Crouse,, Willia Moller, Mr. Kuzuhara for his wife Charity Kuzuhara (adult category winner) and far right back Lexi Duff. (Photo by Chuck Gibson)

It was a Valentine’s morning filled with a message of love from Loveland for 60 people from the community.  They came to fill their stomach with a fresh hot breakfast but left with hearts full of love.

“We’re so grateful to our city leaders, school leaders, and business leaders for being here and being a part of this,” Collins said. “This is something that happens because of everyone in our city coming together and celebrating who the city of Loveland really is; the Sweetheart of Ohio.”

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2020 Valentine Lady Debbie Murray shared her love of being Valentines’ Lady in Loveland (Photo by Chuck Gibson)