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Love in a time of isolation: East Meadow couple renews their vows remotely


Andrew Vardakis wasn’t going to let anything interfere with his ninth wedding anniversary with his wife Allison, he said, despite social distancing at home to stem the tide of the coronavirus.

The East Meadow couple renewed their vows yesterday via FaceTime under Town of Hempstead Clerk Kate Murray.

“I gotta be honest, I wanted to try to surprise her,” Andrew said. “But I couldn’t figure out a way to do it without letting her know so she could wear something nice.”

“We’ve been wearing our pajamas every day,” Allison added, noting that the couple had been mostly working at home and helping their children adjust to remote learning.

The couple took a break for the vow renewal and were accompanied by three flower girls: their children, Holly, 7, Sophia, 4, and Olivia, 1.

The video was streamed on Facebook Live, where the couple’s family was able to view it. The Town of Hempstead also shared the story on its Facebook page in a post that read, “Self-isolation won’t stop true love!”

“I think it was just really great that the Town Clerk was able to step aside and do a personal thing like that for us,” Andrew said.

Andrew and Allison met in 2005 before they began dating in 2008 and married three years later. 

Two weeks after their honeymoon, Andrew went to boot camp to begin training to join the U.S. Coast Guard. Prior to his military career, Andrew was the photo editor for two years at the Long Island Herald Community Newspapers. 

Then, in 2015, Andrew left for his assignment overseas and served on a ship in the Persian Gulf near Bahrain, where he kept patrol as a boatswain. His job was to stay in charge of small boats, rescue and survival programs.

Andrew returned home in December 2016 and has since been serving at the King’s Point Coast Guard station. In January 2017, he and his family moved to East Meadow.

“The Coast Guard is really good about taking care of their members and being very transparent,” Andrew said. He still works from King’s Point on days when he is needed, but the number of staff working simultaneously has been reduced and there have been extra precautions set in place to keep them safe.

Allison is a volunteer ombudsman with the Coast Guard, meaning when new soldiers arrive to the station, she helps their families adjust to their new community. Her job has become entirely remote and now includes helping military families access necessary resources during the scourge of the coronavirus.