In 2003, Heather had a big decision to make. She was working as an associate producer for KFVS 12 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri & wasn't sure if she wanted to stay in television. She considered going to law school, pursuing her recruitment from the STL division of the DEA, or applying for on-air positions in television. Deciding she might give television one more shot, she sent out a single resume tape...to KAIT in Jonesboro, Arkansas. She was disappointed when she didn't get the job (Ron Smiley did!) but was amazed when the news director called a few days later to say there was another opening, when could she start?
Two years of reporting, anchoring, editing and learning how to shoot a camera quickly passed by. The small television station saw plenty of turn over in its staff during that time and even a change in ownership. Most of the folks working there had family in the area or had gone to school at Arkansas State University. It was rare someone would come to work in Northeast Arkansas without a tie to the area.
In August 2005, KAIT welcomed a new reporter all the way from North Carolina! Brett Garrett joined the staff from WITN in Greenville where he had been a producer and photographer. He had sent out about 40 tapes in his job search and had interviewed at several stations before accepting the position in Jonesboro. His visit during his interview was the only time he had ever been to Arkansas. He hit the ground running, often one man banding lead stories for the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. He also became the only person in Region 8 to keep his surfboard in his living room...something he'd carried with him from North Carolina.
Already battling over the computer...
The newsies at the station welcomed Brett with open arms! It was exciting to meet someone from another part of the country. Everyone worked hard to get to know him and help him fit in to his new surroundings. Brett's new desk was in the same cubical corner as Heathers...they quickly became thick as thieves. Plus, they had to share a computer for a while when Heather's broke down (you get to know someone real well that way!). The couple started dating in January 2006. It was the best kept secret because no one knew for nearly 8 months! FYI: News rooms tend to be fertile grounds for relationships. Another couple, Glenn & Emily Marini, started dating and eventually married after meeting at KAIT.
In April 2008, after a little more than two years of dating (privately & publicly) Brett asked Heather took a mini-vacation to St. Louis, Missouri for a weekend getaway. They went to a Cardinals Game, checked out the City Museum, the St. Louis Science Center and even tried a couple of beverages on the Budweiser Tour. The last day of their trip, they toured the St. Louis Botanical Gardens. It was there, next to a bed of beautiful tulips that Brett got down on one knee and popped the question. Heather looked him straight in the eye and replied, "Seriously?" Turned out, he wasn't joking! He pulled a big sparkley ring out of his pocket as proof!
By now, Brett was working as a sports anchor/reporter for WTVA in Tupelo, Mississippi and Heather was anchoring and reporting at KAIT. With a window of only four months before football season started, a wedding had to be planned fast or put off until the following year!
Fortunately, Flanigan women are known to be bossy and for being organized. Heather & her mother (with the help of tons of people) had no problem throwing together a respectable shin-dig for 250 friends and family from across the country. Heather even had time to make a wedding website! It was amazing how everything and everybody came together!
Heather & Brett were married on August 9, 2008 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and celebrated their reception at the Bloodworth House. The newlyweds then flew first class (thanks for the upgrade US Airways!) to Riviera Maya the for their week long honeymoon.
Heathr, teen Elvis & Brett
Heather joined Brett in Tupelo after they were married. It was really hot down there and they lived in a terrible, small apartment (that didn't always have working air conditioning) in the hood. Sometimes they heard gunfire while lying in bed at night. There was never room to put up a Christmas tree or to have people over to visit. But Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, so some people really like it. However, Heather wasn't too heartbroken when she learned they would be moving. Brett signed off as a sports anchor and signed on as a industrial representative for Snap-On Tools. Cha-Ching!
The Garretts packed up all of their worldly belongings (including that surfboard) and relocated to upstate New York...and now you know the rest of the story!