Savoring a steadfast love


Laura and Jayson Johnson know quite a lot about working through a challenging situation. Laura is an RN at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Jayson is a drill instructor at Parris Island who will soon transfer to San Diego’s Camp Pendleton to serve as a combat engineer.

The two met and fell in love in March 2020 — right when the rest of the world was thrown into an unprecedented state of isolation and anxiety due to the global pandemic. 

“My emergency room best friend’s husband works with Jayson, and they bring in recruits a lot because there’s no hospital on base. I remember thinking he was cute, but I never wanted to date anyone in the military,” Laura said.

Laura and Jayson2

“I came in late one night, saw her but did not want to say anything. But she kept popping up on my social media, so I decided to ask my friend about her, and my friend told me she was cool. I messaged Laura and asked her if she wanted to go on a date. Even though COVID was running around, we picked up Taco Bell and went to the drive-in movie,” Jayson said, lightly laughing.

By December, they were engaged.

“Oh, this is a good engagement story,” Jayson said. “It’s hard to pop the question when you’ve already discussed it, but one day my dad was in Beaufort on a business trip, and we were sitting on the couch. He was like, ‘When are you going to do it?’ And I said, ‘You’re right, I need to make a plan.’ So, I called the escape room Every Second Counts on Lady’s Island. We planted clues so that when she solved the puzzle it read, ‘Will you marry me?’ ”

Their engagement 10 months after meeting may seem quick, but at the heart of their engagement story is the theme of steadfastness and Laura and Jayson’s resolve to work through whatever life throws their way. 

Last July, Jayson learned he was going to be transferred to San Diego. 

“I didn’t want to do the coast-to-coast long-distance thing, especially because of COVID. And you can’t develop a meaningful relationship without sharing some intimate time together,” he said. “I thought, ‘I love Laura. I know this might be a little more shotgun than people might like but let’s not let our jobs or money get in the way of us being together.’ ”

On Jan. 8, 2021, in front of 18 of their closest friends and family members, Laura and Jayson married on a small piece of public land overlooking the Beaufort River. 

Right before the ceremony it began to rain. Unperturbed, Jayson waited for Laura under an umbrella at the altar as Laura’s father escorted her through the hilly and wet terrain; her feet nearly frozen but still leading her to Jayson.

In her vows, Laura read, “No one I’ve ever met, no address I’ve ever had, and no state line I’ve ever crossed has ever felt more like home to me than you." 

Laura and Jayson5In his vows, Jayson read, “Whenever I was experiencing negative things, being around her washed away all of it and gave me a sense of calm. She’s my light at the end of the tunnel.”

Both said there is something quite special about being married by the water.

Jayson added, “My favorite memory of our wedding is after the ceremony. Laura and I sat on a bench that looked out over the river. I will always remember us sitting in our Sunday best after making a commitment to not just be married but to constantly be working on something. As we sat there, the rain subsided, and the sunlight came out.”



OFFICIANT: Rev. Dr. Dan A. Hogan 
PHOTOGRAPHER: Elle Michele Photography 
FLORIST: Berkeley Flowers & Gifts 
CATERER: Q on Bay 
HAIR: Emily Cuppia