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2017 Longest Married Couple Project Winners Announced by Worldwide Marriage Encounter
Contact: Dick & Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), 321-544-3440, dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net  
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Feb. 6, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith based marriage enrichment program in the United States, announced today the national winners of the 2017 Longest Married Couple Project. They are Horace Allen and Beatrice Ricks of Callahan, Florida. The Ricks have been married 81 years as of Jan. 10, 2017.
Over 225 nominations were received for this year's project. The winners from individual states will be announced on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. This is the seventh year for the nationwide project.
"It is truly a privilege and honor to recognize Horace Allen and Beatrice Ricks for their commitment to marriage," said Joe & Sue Talarico and Fr. Tom Ogg, the United States Ecclesial Team for WWME. "We are looking forward to personally recognizing them on Feb. 11th in their hometown of Callahan," they added. The Talaricos serve with Fr. Ogg, as the U.S. leadership for the marriage enrichment movement. Fr. Ogg will join the Talaricos at the presentation.
The Ricks were married December 25, 1935. They are originally from Mississippi and met at an ice cream social in the summer of 1935 when they were teenagers. A few months later they married on Christmas Day because they and their families had the holiday off from work so they could get married.
The Florida couple achieved the honor of being the Longest Married Couple based on nominations submitted to Worldwide Marriage Encounter beginning in October of last year. The nomination project ended on January 10th of this year.
The Talaricos pointed out that the project is based on nominations received from October 10th the previous year to January 10th of the current year. "We realize there could be couples married longer, but we did not receive their nominations from friends or family during the nominating period or they chose not to be recognized for their marriage achievements," they said. 
Worldwide Marriage Encounter created the project to highlight marriage in America and to show young couples that marriage really can go the distance. "What an inspiration Mr. & Mrs. Ricks are to all of us. They made a commitment to each other 81 years ago and they have kept that commitment. They truly are an inspiration and sign of hope to all of us," the Talaricos said.
The national winners have two children, nine grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. The presentation of gifts and acknowledgments to the Ricks will be made on Feb. 11th in Callahan.

State winners from across the country will be presented certificates of achievement and other recognitions by Worldwide Marriage Encounter couples during Valentine's week as well as the rest of the month.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 49 years and is considered the original faith-based marriage enrichment program. The programs are continually updated to keep abreast of changes in society, and WWME now offers evening and half-day programs that are presented at parishes and other church facilities. The weekend program, traditionally presented as an overnight experience at a hotel or retreat center, can also be presented at facilities where the couples return to their homes in the evenings. WWME has a presence in almost 100 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world. In North America, the WWME programs are presented in English, Spanish, French, and Korean languages.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. It offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends go online to wwme.org or contact the WWME Office at 909/332-7309.

Media Contact: Dick & Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, 321-544-3440, dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net