Shane and Katelynn Martin have won the inaugural How We Met contest, sponsored by The Leader and The Cellar. Photo courtesy Katelynn Martin

The Leader and The Cellar are proud to announce Shane and Katelynn Martin have won the inaugural How We Met Valentine’s Day contest. 

Two dozen entrants wrote in to tell The Leader how they met their significant others. 

“A few years ago we started a series with these stories and they were so different from the things we usually cover,” said managing editor Echo Day. “I think Tipton County could use more stories related to the hope and excitement of new love.” 


Entries were judged by regional editorial staff at the paper’s parent company. 

“It’s difficult for me to pick just one!” said regional editor Sabrina Bates.

All of the entrants shared incredible love stories, but this one captured the judges’ hearts.

“It has all of the elements of a Hollywood-written romantic comedy,” Day said, “from falling in love with the boy next door in middle school to the pandemic-era redemptive arc. Throw in a snowstorm and baking and, well, you have a winner.”

Here’s their story, as written by Katelynn Martin: 

My husband and I met when we were in the sixth grade in 2008. We were good friends and rode the bus together because we were literally next door neighbors. We had both just moved there that year and were super shy and quiet. 

I had a huge crush on him and he knew about it. I even wrote him a little note that said I had a secret and the secret was that I liked him. After sixth grade, we didn’t have any more classes together and didn’t talk to each other, despite still being neighbors. 

So 12 years go by (I know, crazy!), we’re both single and doing our own thing, and then COVID happened. Circumstances had us both back at home with our parents, luckily, and we were all stuck at home so I saw him in the driveway more. 

Did we say anything more than “hey” to each other? No, we didn’t at the time. (We’re) shy and awkward, remember? 

Then, in February 2021, we had a big snow storm that lasted a week, which is uncommon for Tipton County. I decided to make dog treats for all the neighbors in our cul-de-sac since we all had dogs and we’re stuck at home. 

Really I did it so I could go talk to my now husband, because even though a lot of time had passed and we had both dated other people, that crush was still there and I just hadn’t realized it until then. 

We talked for about an hour before I left and then I couldn’t stop thinking about him for weeks. [A month later] I was talking to my mom and decided that I was going to be brave and ask him to go disc golfing with my family on our weekly routine. I thought, “It’s not like I talk to him now, so if he says no it’s not like it will be awkward.” 

Well he said he would “love” to and the rest is history! 

We started dating in April 2021, he proposed in December 2021, and we got married June 2022. 

Our love story sounds like a Hallmark movie and I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Oh and remember that note I wrote? He still has it and it is now framed in our house!

The Martins have won dinner for two at The Cellar.

“We’re excited to sponsor this contest along with the paper,” said Jere Mason, one of the restaurant’s owners. “Even if you’re not chosen, we invite you to visit us for Valentine’s Day. We have a new partnership with Dulce Amada Bakery and have the best chocolate covered strawberries on sale or pre-order.”

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.