JT Payne and Rachel Embry

Feb 1, 2022

The Shoe Tree near Pogue Library.

The Shoe Tree is ongoing tradition at Murray State where couple who meet at Murray State and get married can place their shoes on the tree.

Rachel and I met at Murray State in the Fall of 2017 at a cookout hosted by one of the local Murray churches. She doesn’t remember my presence there, which shows who was the first one interested. My roommate at the time said she was “out of my league” and he was right… I definitely married up! The following year I became roommates with two of Rachel’s closest high school friends, which allowed us to spend quite a bit of time together. The summer prior to my senior year Rachel and I started dating and we had the typical Murray State relationship with lots of visits to Dairy Queen, romantic lunches at the T-Room, hiking at Land Between the Lakes and cheering on the Racer’s at the CFSB center. In August of 2019 Rachel and I got engaged and were married on June 27, 2020. Almost half of our engagement was spent during the early pandemic stages with a lot of uncertainty and changing of plans. We ended up having a perfect wedding on the property Rachel grew up on surrounded by family and friends (many that we met at Murray State). I graduated in May of 2019 and currently teach agriculture at Henderson County High School and take every opportunity to encourage my students to become future Racers. Rachel is currently finishing nursing school at MSU and enjoying her final days as a student. Murray State will always hold a special place in our hearts and we enjoy the many lifelong friendships that we made in the “world’s friendliest small town.” Shoes Up & Go Racers!

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