Ferrum College sweethearts Bradley Lael ’16 and Virginia Pannill ’17 met at the College in 2014. As freshmen, both enrolled in the agricultural studies program and slowly got to know each other over the course of about a year. “We met in Garber, room 123,” said Lael. “We really hit it off during the summer of 2015. When we returned to Ferrum in the fall of 2015, we decided to make it official. We started dating in September that year.”
The couple experienced their first trial during the spring semester of 2016. Over Christmas break, while Pannill was visiting Germany, Lael severely broke his foot while cleaning his grandfather’s gutters. He was forced to use a wheelchair for about fourteen weeks. Once Pannill returned home from Germany, she dutifully took care of Lael, getting him to and from class and helping him walk again just before his graduation in May. “She only forgot me once at the top of the auditorium in Garber,” laughed Lael.
During that semester, Pannill’s loyalty and caring nature shone through. “I believe she would’ve played that role for anybody,” Lael said. “All semester long, she was right there by my side.”
The similarities between the couple are obvious. Both are agriculture teachers for Spotsylvania County Public Schools, both love classic country music and singer George Jones, and both plan to be lifelong educators. They are independent, professional, and their love for each other grows stronger each day.
It didn’t take long for Lael to realize he wanted to marry Pannill. “I probably asked her mother at the wrong time,” he said. “She was taking something hot out of the oven.” But the blessing was given and Lael proposed to Pannill at Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt.
The couple will tie the knot this Saturday, December 7, 2019, in Ferrum College’s Vaughn Chapel. “Coming back to where we first met, shared laughs and tears, and the continued love and concern from everyone at Ferrum made it an easy choice for a venue,” explained Lael. After the wedding, they will honeymoon in the Caribbean and return home in time to celebrate their first married Christmas with family.
Lael is thankful for the role Ferrum College played in his romance with Pannill. “We never would’ve met if we didn’t choose Ferrum,” he said. “I wouldn’t change a Ferrum experience for anything.”