(SYLVAN, Ohio) — There’s love and then there’s this kind of love.
It involves buying space on two giant billboards in two of the busiest intersections in town and putting your wife’s picture on them, listing all the reasons why an employer should hire her.
Such true love, deep-down devotion and, more than anything, shock-and-awe strategy led Holly Stuard of Sylvan, Ohio, to discover, to her surprise, a billboard with her picture reading “Please Hire My Wife,” in giant, bold, black letters.
“I was definitely shocked,” Stuard, 36, told ABC News of the moment Monday night when her husband, Brandon, 38, pointed out his handiwork to her.
“He made plans that we’d go out to dinner at one of our Mexican restaurants on the other side of town so that we’d pass the billboard on our way,” she said. “Our older son saw it before I did and said, ‘Momma that picture looks like you.’”
Brandon Stuard, a deputy sheriff in a Toledo suburb where the couple lives with his 15-year-old daughter and their two sons, ages four and two, decided to purchase the billboard space after he saw his wife deal with the ups and downs of an unfruitful job search for the past year.
“I was just trying to help and put her face and a small portion of her resume around the city in hopes that something would come along,” Brandon told ABC News Thursday from his cellphone as he passed one of the billboards in the car on his way home from work. “I’m almost probably as shocked about all this attention we’re getting about it as she was to see it.”
Holly’s position as a program manager for the MBA program at the University of Toledo, from which she graduated with both an MBA and a degree in psychology, was eliminated in July 2011 due to budget cuts. Since then she has gone on countless interviews, seeking a corporate job in training and development.
“It’s been such a long timeframe and there’s so many ups and downs with a job search, and I think he’s felt a little helpless,” she said of her husband of eight years. “He felt this was a way he could actually do something because it’s been a difficult process.”
Brandon, whom Holly said is known for surprises, also knows his wife well enough to not tell her in advance. He worked with two different billboard companies to purchase space on the two electronic billboards, one near a mall and one in downtown Toledo.
The billboards feature a giant photo of Holly, which Brandon said was a “last-minute decision” to include, along with her credentials, which include business experience, academic experience and her MBA.
“My husband knew that I would say, ‘There’s no way you’re putting my picture up on a billboard,’” she said. “It’s definitely outside of my comfort zone but I hope that it will lead to a good opportunity.”
Most importantly the billboards, which cost Brandon around $700, feature an easy to remember email address: HIREMYWIFE@YAHOO.COM.
So far the billboard has brought more attention for the couple than concrete job offers. Emails from well wishers who have suffered through similarly frustrating job searches have poured in. Friends have shared the story on Facebook and the couple was featured in a story on the local evening news.
Still, Holly is hopeful and appreciative of the boost from her husband.
“It’s definitely given my job search new energ … ,” she said. “It’s been really exciting. I’ve heard from a lot of people who are trying to connect me with companies that are hiring and there’s just a really good vibe out there.”
The two billboard ads will stay up a few days past the one week’s time that Brandon purchased, thanks to the generosity of vendors similarly impressed by his efforts.
“Obviously with me not working it was a big investment and a big consideration financially to do it,” Holly said. “He [Brandon] said both of the companies were really great working with him and giving him a price break and keeping it up for a few extra days.”
One thing the vendors can’t help Brandon with is planning ahead for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or the couple’s anniversary, now that the bar has been set so high.
“This will be tough to top as far as surprises go,” he said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Julia Horowitz, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN
Paul Menser, BizMojo Idaho