Love is blind: Blind LLCC students married with prof officiating


Theo and Anne share a warm embrace

Cam Boyer, Lamp Staff





SPRINGFIELD – Anne-Marie Andersen didn’t think she would ever get married, and after she went blind from diabetes, that seemed even more likely. 

But it was due to the loss of sight that she met her future husband and fellow Lincoln Land student Theaibold Kennon. 

Both blind, the couple met at Springfield’s Mary Bryant Home for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It was there that Theo knew when he first held her that he never wanted to let her go.  

After being together for two years, Anne and Theo married Friday, Sept. 20, at Bridgeview Park in Chatham, with Speech Communications Professor, Brenda Protz, officiating.  

Despite being able to see at one point in their lives, they both went blind as a result of diabetes. Their shared impairment is what brought them together in the Mary Bryant HomeTheo moved into the home toward the end of 2015, while Anne moved in February 2016 from Seattle, Washington.  

The Mary Bryant Home is one of only six homes provided for blind people in the entire country. Little did they know that this home would lead them to love.  

Theo and Anne began talking as friends almost immediately after she moved in. They met each other for the first time in the exercise center of the home, and they hit it off from there. Over the next year, Theo felt strong feelings toward Anne and hoped she felt the same.  

“Circumstances worked out where I just realized I had strong feelings for her, so I asked her out,” Theo said.  

On February 11, 2017, Theo took Anne Marie on their first date.  

“He gave me this big, wonderful, stuffed Hello Kitty for Valentine’s Day. She was holding a little box of gummy candy.” Anne said.  

From that sweet gesture, their romance blossomed, and the rest is history.  

“Almost from beginning people kept saying, ‘Oh you’d make a great couple.’ Turns out they were right.” Theo said 

Anne and Theo’s love has grown larger and larger since they first began dating.  

“I love his warm hands. I love how funny and sweet he is, and how he can just pick me up when I’m feeling down, get me back thinking about the important things.” Anne said.  

When asked about what he likes most about Anne, Theo replied: “Anne underestimates herself sometimes. I don’t think she realizes how big of an inspiration she is for me. I can’t imagine going through half of the problems she’s been through, and she still gets up every day with a smile on her face. She’s just so sunny and bright.”  

Setting up a wedding can be a major struggle for any couple to go through. There are so many different things that you need to focus on and worry about at one time. This can be a very stressful process.  

Anne and Theo both share a philosophy that “if there comes a time where you want to do something, the opportunities will present themselves. Luckily for Theo and Anne, that philosophy rang true.  

“We were talking about setting a firm date for the wedding, and I just thought ‘I don’t know where it will be, and I don’t who will do it,’ but when I was in Brenda Protz’s class, she mentioned that she does weddings. It was like ‘oh well that’s convenient!’” Theo said.  

Protz has been teaching at Lincoln Land since 2001 and became a full-time professor in 2006. She received her officiant license in 2013.  

“Any time I get to bring a couple together, especially when I know them, it is an amazing honor. I feel like I get the best seat in the house,” Protz said.  

This isn’t the first student couple that Protz has been an officiant for. However, Anne is the first student to be currently enrolled in one of Protz’s classes while getting married through her. Theo, on the other hand, was enrolled in her class last semester and brought up the idea.  

“The fact that Theo thought enough of me, to want me to be a part of the biggest day of his life is an incredible feeling,” Protz said. “He is the most excited groom I’ve ever been around. He has been the most involved in planning, and you can see the love and happiness radiate off him.” 

Although Anne and Theo are visually impaired, this has only strengthened their connection.  

“A lot of people in situations like that never get to experience that level of intimacy,” said Brenda Protz. “I’m so glad that they found each other, and it’s great that they have a safe home together.” 

The couple said their wedding plans have been aided greatly by the Mary Bryant Home’s outreach coordinator Misty Smith.  

“When I wanted to ask Anne to marry me, Misty was the person I went to for help finding a ring. She is such a huge help for both of us.”  

Misty has been heavily involved with the marriage process, and she has been fantastic at getting everyone at the home involved in wedding planning, he said 

“People are saying, ‘Oh I know who can get you flowers’ or ‘Oh I know who can do hair and makeup,’ and it’s just been an extremely supportive environment,” Theo said.  

It’s no surprise to see that so many people are going out of their way to help this lovely couple.  

“I feel like I’m about to burst through the ceiling!” said Anne.  

The whole situation is surreal for the couple. Many people with disabilities believe that it just simply can’t happen for them.  

“I never thought I’d get married; I’m just so glad I finally found a guy who’s worth it,” Anne said.  

They show that even though life with a disability may be complicated, there is true love out there for everyone.  

“The moment I met her I knew that I never wanted to let her go. Well, now I don’t have to!” Theo said 

The couple will continue to reside in the Mary Bryan Home for the Blind in a special room designed for married couples. They will be the only married couple currently residing at the home.