It was New Year's Day in 1999 and for Jeff Warne and his wife Debbie they were welcoming their twin daughters Amanda and Samantha into the world but not necessarily in the way they had hoped. 

"They were 3 months premature it was the 31st when Deb and I had the issue her water broke so we had to get to the hospital. We were a little panicky being 3 months early we lived in Sherwood Park so went to the big hospital in Edmonton and stuff we got there and tried to see how things were going."

Both Jeff and Debbie were very concerned but unfortunately, there was no stopping the arrival of their daughters, "It was the following day that they had to induce the labor which they were trying to extend, of course, the longer they stayed in there the better, but they didn't have a choice, they were born on January first."

From there the twins spent the next 11 months in the ICU Warne explained with a lot of medical ups and downs throughout the entire year. 

At that time Warne wanted to do something to honour his daughters and how hard they fought through their first year, so he sent in a song request for Angels Among Us by Alabama and his story into the American Country Countdown.  

"I just gave them briefly my story about my daughters and told them that somebody came into the ICU and dropped off an Angel because they had heard our story on the country station up in Edmonton.  After that things seemed to start going better in the ICU, I don't know how you say it was a Godsend or something that came along but after a year in the ICU we got them out."

This was the message Jeff sent, “My request is not so much for me but for my twin daughters Amanda and Samantha who were born on January 1st, 1999, three months premature.  This year has been a huge battle for them as well as for my wife Deb and me. These two newborns have been through numerous surgeries too wild to even try to explain.   Back in March, I requested the Song Angels Among Us on our local station here and then received a gift delivered anonymously to the Intensive care unit where the babies were. This radio listener left a note saying my story had touched them deeply. The gift was a porcelain statue of two little angels, and it touched us deeply and to this day has helped us make it through.   As the girl's 1st birthday approaches on January 1st, we are thrilled that we are going to be home for the event. We're hoping that you can play Angels Among Us for them. After all, the great care and helpful prayers we are truly thankful.” 

Warne said it was just a moment in time to hear their request read on air and their song played on the ACC, but it was and still is very important to their family and this song has stuck with them over the past 24 years as the girls are now making their way out on their own. 

"One works in town here at Co-op, the other she's special needs, so she belongs to a program here in town. She's the happiest kid around, she's had a couple of issues, but now they've moved out as of a year or two ago and they've got their own place in town."

Warne said it was not an easy road at one point almost losing one of their daughters a couple of times while they were in the hospital and although they were able to bring their daughters home the road was not an easy one.

"Amanda was in there, I think about 10 or 11 months before we got her out of the ICU, then we had home care.  We had nurses at home 24/7 through the nights and days for three or four years in our house up in Sherwood Park.  It went on and on they both had G tubes and stuff, so there was just a list that's going to take a long time to go through, but they did have a lot of medical issues to get through."

After being in the military for 28 years Warne retired and asked his wife who had followed him wherever they had to go throughout his career where she wanted to go and with her having some family in Strathmore it only made sense to come and check it out.

They moved their family to Strathmore about 8 years ago, Warne explained that he and his wife came to check the area and were impressed with what the community had to offer as well as the schools and programs available for both of his daughters, "We found our place here and we haven't looked back since we moved here." 

Even after 24 years, the memories are still very present in both Jeff and Debbie's minds as well as the people they met during the time their daughters were in the hospital, "We actually met quite a few while we were in there, there was some in there that had lost their children there were a lot of ups and downs for everybody, but we've kept in contact with quite a few of the people."

Warne expressed their gratitude for having a group of people who could relate to what they were going through who could support them and who they could support, along with support from their families which was what helped them to get through something so difficult during a time when it should be joyous as they were starting their family. 

"Between family and friends and people that we met and the doctors we had, that little group was the biggest thing that helped us get along through the whole thing." 

As for the request this year to hear this song played on the radio one more time it is not something Warne has not done every year, but he felt the want to do it this year.

"I haven't done it in a long time, but it's been so many years now and I just thought I'm going to check the radio station and see if there's any way.  I haven't told my daughters yet so it's going to come as a surprise to them, I just thought I'd throw it out there and see what happens, and if it came through on January 1st that would be amazing for Deb and I and the girls." 

Warne explained that his family has been going through a few things lately and life is starting to settle down a bit, and every once in a while, he has heard this song and it makes him pause and remember what is important.  




Listen to the full dedication that aired on January 1 on 104.5 More Country that includes the original dedication from the ACC back in 1999