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Park Rapids man reunites with 'first love' on "Good Morning America'

Steve McCoyne of Park Rapids, Minn., met his first love, Nancy Hamre in New York City for a segment on "Good Morning America." SUBMITTED PHOTO

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. – A Park Rapids man was reunited with his first love in New York City last week with the help of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and “Good Morning America.”

Steve McCoyne met Nancy Hamre in 1989 in Phoenix, Ore. After talking for hours, they were instantly in love. She was 17 and he was 19.

McCoyne was preparing for a six-month deployment as a Marine and they said their goodbyes. While he was away, the couple exchanged more than 200 letters. But when McCoyne returned, they were living on opposite coasts and eventually Hamre ended the relationship.

Since then, McCoyne and Hamre had been in other relationships. Hamre was engaged and had a son and McCoyne was married.

Social media eventually brought them back together. The timing was always off.

But everything came together earlier this year after they reconnected through Facebook. They realized they were both now single and began messaging and talking on the phone in February after McCoyne wrote a sweet message on her page on Valentine’s Day.

McCoyne’s sister, Sandi Bennett, is a fan of “Good Morning America” and heard producers on the show were looking for a first-love story. She immediately thought about her brother and Hamre. After she contacted “Good Morning America,” someone responded within half an hour.

They wanted to do a story about the couple to coincide with the release of Jennifer Lopez’s new single “First Love.”

McCoyne was on board. He and Hamre had already been planning to meet up in September, but this opportunity would allow them to meet sooner. Hamre agreed to do the story, although she didn’t know that superstar Lopez was involved.

McCoyne talked with Lopez on Skype and the plan was set.

“Good Morning America” had McCoyne and Hamre flown to New York City and they each had hours of interviews before they met for the first time on camera.

Hamre first met Lopez, which was a complete surprise, and then she met McCoyne.

“Bless his heart, he had to walk in after Jennifer Lopez,” Hamre joked about McCoyne on “Good Morning America.” “I was so surprised to see him, too. That was amazing.”

“What surprised me the most is how all the qualities that originally endeared me to her are still present, they’re just more refined and obviously we’re more mature now,” McCoyne said on the show.

The story appeared on “Good Morning America” on Thursday. They were invited back to the Friday show when Lopez performed a concert.

The experience was positive for McCoyne. He wasn’t terribly nervous about being filmed until just before the live segment Thursday.

After returning home to Park Rapids, he has heard from a lot of family and friends who were excited to see the story and has had many new friend requests on Facebook.

“It’s been fantastic,” McCoyne said Monday. “Nancy will be here in September, and we’re going to see where things go.”

McCoyne’s mother, Sue, said the experience was amazing. She couldn’t tell anyone about the show ahead of time, which was difficult.

“I got tears in my eyes when I saw it,” she said, adding that she loves Hamre already and can’t wait to meet her.

“We got to live the experience through him, and it was wonderful,” she said.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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