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A tale of romance and resilience


The love story between Army Staff Sgt. Evelyn Acevez and former Army toxic material handler Josh Jenkins has not been for the faint of heart.

For one thing, it all started when they became taken with each other while she was spraying him down at the Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado in 2018. He was among those trained to ensure the depot provides safe, secure storage of the chemical weapons stockpile that will eventually be systematically destroyed.

“She was just really sweet and also really pretty,” Jenkins said. “She was also smart, outgoing and passionate about everything.”

The couple has since been through three car accidents; two cases of COVID; one move from El Paso, Texas, to Louisiana during Hurricane Ida and another move from Louisiana to Fort Bragg; a nearly ruptured appendix for Jenkins and most recently, the birth of sweet baby Lilliana. When they celebrate their first wedding anniversary on Feb. 25, it will be after Acevez returns from a month-long training assignment out of state.

“It’s catching up with us,” Jenkins, 31, said. “But at least we’ll have stories.”

Jenkins, who is now a civilian contractor, spent six months in COVID quarantine while in Afghanistan and was in Canada when Acevez was diagnosed with the virus. He returned just in time for Lilliana’s birth on Sept. 22, 2021, completing their family that includes 7-year-old son Dysin, along with four rescue dogs, a couple of cats and a turtle.

Acevez has twice been hit from behind in her car while stopping at traffic lights. Jenkins drove from Colorado to El Paso, where she was stationed, to be with her.
But neither distance nor health scares have been able to rattle the resilience of their relationship.

“Patience,” Acevez, 28, said. “It takes patience and communication. And trust.”
Acevez was a 23-year-old single mother from Arizona when she joined the Army five years ago. Jenkins is a native of Florida. They are both hands-on parents who take turns with everything from changing diapers to feeding the pups, but since their families aren’t nearby, they’ve also come to rely on a close-knit community of friends, including those at Lion’s Den Power House Gym.

“They’re awesome,” said Brandon Ferra of Acevez and Jenkins. He and his wife, Caitlyn, run tactical training classes at the gym. “And they’re really good parents.”
When Acevez went into labor, the Ferras were there to help tend to Dysin.

“I just feel like they are super, super sweet people,” said Caitlyn Ferra. “I feel like they would do anything for their friends. They’re a really good fit for each other. They balance each other.”

Their four years together have featured plenty of excitement, but they are looking forward to a quiet evening together when Acevez returns in time for their anniversary.

“A lot of people would want to go out and party,” Jenkins said. “But we like being with the family and being together. We’ll probably just relax.”