Burning love leads to the altar

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 11, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

St. Mary’s Catholic Church will be ablaze with love tonight as Suffolk firefighters Meg McIntosh and Brian Bunting exchange wedding vows.

Dozens of friends, family and fire department employees and volunteers will come together to celebrate union of the couple, whose love was ignited after they began dating in two years ago.


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McIntosh, 24, and Bunting, 31, who work at the fire departments in Whaleyville and Holland respectively, will live in downtown Driver after their honeymoon.

Bunting proposed to McIntosh, the daughter of Norman and Cathy McIntosh, at St. Paul’s Cathedral just after the destruction of the World Trade Center. That momentous event has set the tone for their lives.

&uot;We were sitting in the front pew and it was so beautiful inside the cathedral,&uot; said McIntosh. &uot;Even though we knew of the destruction outside, we felt close, …protected and loved.&uot;

McIntosh and Bunting have been inseparable since began dating in July 2001. However, they didn’t start out that way.

In fact, Bunting, the son of Bruce and Bridgett Bunting, hardly noticed McIntosh the first time he met her, no more than to see that she was a young kid about to get in the way of his team of firefighters.

The pair met a training fire exercise nine years ago, when Meg, 15, came out to watch the Driver Volunteer Fire Department conduct a practice burn on a house on Sleepy Hole Road.

&uot;I was there to see if I was right in what I’d believed since the age of 8 – that I wanted to be a firefighter,&uot; McIntosh. &uot;He was 22…so of course, he didn’t look at me as anything but a child back then.&uot;

Bunting agreed.

&uot;I really didn’t take any notice of her. I thought she was there just to watch us do a practice house burning,&uot; said Brian. &uot;Because of her age, 15, I just sort of ignored her since I had my hands full with my own men.&uot;

The next year, at age 16, Meg became a volunteer at the Driver Volunteer Fire Station.

&uot;He was a volunteer lieutenant back then and he had a good group, including Ricky Creasy, Jason Yost, and David Moody, some of the best in the department,&uot; said McIntosh. &uot;My officer would always challenge Brian and I always thought that Brian was out to get me; that he was hard and mean.

&uot;Little did I know that we’d end up sweethearts and then marriage… no way!&uot;

McIntosh, a 1998 graduate of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, chose to attend Christopher Newport University even though Auburn and Virginia Tech accepted her.

&uot;I chose CNU because I wanted to be a firefighter,&uot; said McIntosh. &uot;I stayed here and went to college and was hired on June 16, 2000, at the age of 20. I’m 24 now, and I love being a firefighter.&uot;

It is said that the couple that prays together stays together and this couple plans to follow that adage. But they also plan to play together.

&uot;We both love woodworking and our hobby is doing home improvement projects around the house,&uot; said McIntosh. &uot;We both love to hunt, fish and camp.

&uot;We love, love, love spending time with family and friends, and we’re both dog lovers,&uot; she continued. &uot;We truly believe we have so much in common that we were meant to be together.&uot;

Their friendship began to change after Bunting was hired in May 1996 by the Chesapeake Fire Department.

&uot;Over the years, we had a lot of mutual friends and we began hanging out together,&uot; said Bunting. &uot;She grew up,…matured, and I began looking at her differently.

&uot;She’s always been beautiful, but then she was suddenly different.&uot;

According to McIntosh, it was simply that Cupid’s arrow that struck Brian’s heart one day and he asked her out for a real date.

Bunting said he worries about any firefighter in a structure fire, but he will worry about his bride. But both agree that in the performance of their jobs, they don’t need the extra stress of worrying about what’s happening to the other.

&uot;Both of us have been to numerous schools for training and we have both been in the fire service long enough to know what we’re doing,&uot; said Brian. &uot;Chief (Mark) Outlaw is very big on training and he makes sure we get constant training.&uot;

Currently, Bunting is working toward a degree in engineering, and Meg is pursuing a degree in communications. Both plan to remain with the Suffolk Fire Department.

&uot;There is no other job like it,&uot; he said. &uot;The camaraderie is great and there is never a dull moment. Just going out to help people is reward beyond measure. No other job could be so fulfilling.&uot;