CHARLESTON -- Valentine's Day. The holiday conveys images of Cupid and red hearts, boxes of jewelry and chocolates, lovers old and young staring deep into one another's eyes over a candlelit dinner.
But for one local couple, this Valentine's Day most likely will be their last together, with a free divorce being given away by a local rock station.
WKLC-FM, also known as Rock 105, and attorney Rusty Webb are teaming together to offer legal counsel to one couple who will be chosen during a random drawing to have their marriage ended.
"For some people it might be Valentine's Day, but for the winner of this contest it will be Independence Day," said Webb, a Charleston attorney. "It'll be one of the most liberating days of their life."
While the idea might seem odd to some, it has garnered a surprising amount of response, with more than 150 entries coming in less than 24 hours, according to Jay Nunley, program director at Rock 105.
The contest is not new to Nunley, who did it once earlier in his career. He said he and fellow on-air personality Steve Animal decided to try it again this year and worked with Webb to make it happen. Webb contacted the West Virginia State Bar, to make sure there were no legal issues with the contest, and the contest started.
"On Valentine's Day everybody else is doing hearts and flowers, candlelit dinners. That's fine. That's the positive side, I guess," Nunley said. "What about all the people that hate Valentine's Day? Got to be half of us, right?
"We can give you concert tickets, but that's only going to make you happy for a couple of hours. We're giving you a chance to be happy for a lifetime."
The contest is being done in a fun spirit, but Nunley said there is also a serious side to it. He said the majority of the entries are from people who have been separated for a long time but cannot afford legal fees so are unable to have their divorce finalized.
"There are restrictions as far as the number of hours the attorney puts in and how far they have to go," Nunley said. "90 percent are already separated and just can't afford it. They get a good lawyer in all of this, too, so that makes a difference."
Webb, a former state Senator and member of the House of Delegates, said this contest allows him to provide quality counsel for people who might not be able to afford the service.
"I thought it would be a good public service for some person who wins the contest, to get competent, experienced legal counsel that they probably would not otherwise be able to afford."
The contest winners were drawn after The Record's press deadline.