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V-Day kings, queens crowned Monday

Willie Wingard never thought he would live long enough to be a king.

But on Feb. 15, 2010, he was crowned King of the Valentine Kingdom at the Lillian D. Green Nutrition Center in Troy. And, he couldn’t have asked for a “finer” queen than Rosa Lee Boswell.

The newly crowned Valentine King and Queen were all smiles as they accepted the congratulations of their “subjects,” as were the Valentine King and Queen of Troy Health and Rehabilitation Center, James Lovely and Esther Watkins.

The Lillian Green Nutrition Center Valentine King and Queen were crowned prior to a Valentine luncheon at the center Monday. Troy Health and Rehab crowned its 2010 Valentine King and Queen during an afternoon ceremony, which was followed by a gala party.

Wingard laughingly said he thought something was up when he looked around the center and realized he was the only gentleman wearing a suit.

“They had told me to dress up in my suit and I thought everybody was dressing up – until I got here and looked around,” he said. “But still I didn’t think about anything like this. That I would be a king.”

Boswell said she was wearing the same red dress that she has worn on Valentine’s Day for the past 10 to 15 years.

“So, I was ready for anything,” she said, laughing.

Lovely and Watkins were just as surprised to be selected Valentine King and Queen.

“I never thought about being a king but it’s a nice thing to be,” Lovely said, and added with a laugh. “Does any money come with it?”

Watkins might have been a queen or something close to one back many years ago, but wearing the title of TH&R Valentine Queen is the only reigning she’s done “lately.”

Lovely was a fire and brimstone preacher for 49 years and his faith is as strong today as it was the first day he stepped behind the pulpit.

Watkins’ life has been a good one and a blessed one

“I have eight children, seven living,” she said. “I lost a son in 1969 in Vietnam. I still miss him but I’ve been blessed.”

Neither of the kings nor the queens remembers a Valentine’s Day when more attention was heaped upon them.

“When I was growing up, we had one Valentine at school and we all traced around it and made our own,” Boswell said.

“We wrote ‘Be Mine’ on it and that was our Valentine.”

Wingard said he didn’t know there was a Valentine’s Day until he was a grown man.

“Then, I’d get Valentines for my wife and kids but, I don’t do that anymore.”

The Valentine Kings and Queens were in a proclaiming mood Monday and each proclaimed, peace, love and happiness around the world.

“If we could really do that, we wouldn’t need anything else,” Boswell said.