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A Lawrence Love Story  

How a Mall, Music, a Little Midnight Madness Led to a Match Made in Heaven

It all started back in 1992 at the Lawrence Riverfront Factory Outlet Mall. Pat and Paul Reed, became fast friends while working their respective mall jobs. Pat managed a childrenswear store and Paul worked in the jewelry kiosk right outside her door. “We were just really good friends,” Paul said. “For two years I tried to set him up with other people,” Pat laughed. 

They reminisced about attending Late Night in the Phog together. “It was Midnight Madness with Roy Williams back then,” Paul said. “It’s a fun event that we still try to attend as often as possible.” Then one fateful day, they decided to attend the Symphony on the Prairie. “I grew up in Chase County and that’s where it started,” Paul explained. “Now it’s an iconic Kansas event.” They just grabbed some friends, drove into the Flint Hills, and camped in a buddy’s pasture. 

“There was a gorgeous sunset and it was a beautiful night.,” Paul added. “Yes,” Pat interjected. “I remember Paul pulled me up to my feet and was standing behind me singing the national anthem. Somehow, just hearing his voice, the reverence of the moment, and all the voices around, I suddenly realized, ‘Oh, no. I have a crush on my friend!’ Luckily, he had a crush on me back.”

The Symphony on the Prairie is now an annual event celebrating music, art, and the ecology of the Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie. Located in a different pasture each year, the 2023 event will take place on Wade Pasture near Eskridge in Wabaunsee County on June 10th. It includes cowboys, cattle drives, and covered wagon rides and concludes with a sunset concert performed by the Kansas City Symphony.

“One thing led to another, and 26 years later here we are!” Paul chimed in. The couple now have three daughters, Molly, 23, who is in optometry school at Indiana University, Jessica, 21, a junior at Wichita State, and Allison, 19, a sophomore at KU. “The girls are all comedians,” Pat laughs. “They are always cracking jokes and singing. We enjoy music, camping, and traveling together. We have a lot of fun.” They especially enjoy raising their daughters in a town with so much opportunity. The girls were all involved in sports, orchestra, and choir. “We chose this town and we raised our kids here on purpose. We are involved in the community and giving back, so showing the kids ways to give back and contribute to the community is important to us.” 

When Molly was 11 she needed spine surgery for an aggressive form of scoliosis. The community really embraced the Reeds. “We received so much support, prayers, meals, puzzles, and books. It was an overwhelming outpouring of love! We really wanted to show our gratitude for Lawrence and to love it back!”  Pat added, “How do you love a town back? Through community involvement, supporting local businesses, and donating to local causes.”

Pat and Paul not only spend time together at home, but they also work together at Farm Bureau Financial Services. They take their love of the Lawrence community to work with them. “We try to keep love at the center of everything that we do with our family and also with our work,” Pat said. “The work that we do is about relationships and protecting people and so it really does just kind of follow right along. We are in a unique position to be helpers and, as much as possible, be there for our clients on their worst days.”

Pat added, “I think people wouldn’t imagine that you can bring loving intent into an insurance office. But you're working with people and families and when you bring that loving intent into your job, people can feel it. They know that it's real, and it really makes a difference.”

“Working at Farm Bureau … we are like the smallest, nicest insurance company out there,” Paul said. “I mean there are a lot of big, big mega companies and this was as close to the little, local office that we could find.  You build real relationships, real friendships, and you get to know and love your clients. Our office staff, our family, and our clients - there's just love at the center of all of it. We love our life in Lawrence!”