AshLeigh and Jake

Image 1 of AshLeigh and Jake

How We Met

Jake and I currently are Active Duty Army Officers (First Lieutenants) in the United States Army. While stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, we lived across the street from each other for 6 months before meeting. We both attended the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California for a 40 day training rotation in support of both our units, never meeting until our return. We always joke that we took our first vacation together to California and we did not even know each other at the time! Our meeting was completely unintentional and hilariously comical. Our mutual friend Margaux, who Jake knew from West Point and I knew from my current unit, convinced me to go to the gym on a Sunday! Anyone who knows me would know what an accomplishment alone that is. We were originally going to head out early afternoon but being a Sunday, pushed it back so I could get a quick nap. Once arriving to the gym, I notice Margaux talking to these two adorably handsome men. She waved me over to say hello, all three of them making eye contact, and I pretended not to see them, even though it was completely obvious I did. Here I am on a treadmill looking awkward as heck, trying to pretend I did not just ignore eye contact.

Finally, after being caught, my hot sweaty mess of a self walked over and started a conversation. Drew was an enthusiastic conversationalist, very engaging and amicable. As I reached out to say hello to Jake, I said “hi my names AshLeigh” and what I got in return was “Jake.” Leaving the gym, I mentioned to Margaux I would really love to meet Drew again sometime and Jake sure did not show any interest. Fast forward to the following Wednesday, Margaux convinced the guys and myself to go to a Red, White and Blue Running Club event. Again, for anyone who knows me, to convince me to go to a running group is another achievement! Well, I was super excited to see Drew. And as we pull up, Drew and Jake walk out, and in the last minute, Drew said he could not come! Here I am, thinking “oh great, an hour adventure with a man who does not talk.” But little did I know, Jake became a very talkative and inquisitive person…during our run. Jake is 6 foot 5 inches and an excellent runner. I am 5 foot 3 inches and run to earn the right to eat chocolate. Here I am, mid run trying to keep up with an awesome runner and somehow find the energy to talk effortlessly while running. Talk about a challenge. We ended up getting drinks after the run and Jake took note I was single, both of us having experienced a break up.

I realized what a great man Jake was and asked Margaux to mention my number to Jake In casual conversation. Our first date ended up in a Jeep Wrangler in the snow covered mountains, driving and getting to know each other. Three wonderful weeks later and many wonderful dates down, Jake invited me back to his hometown of Ouray, Colorado over Christmas to meet his family, and by that I mean his entire family, to include extended. In four short days, I fell in love with the Rocky Mountains, my future in laws, and a man who quickly became my best friend. After this wonderful holiday, Jake and I snapped back to reality and began to prepare for our first relationship test, a nine month deployment. Jake deployed February 2016, returning to the states for an additional schooling opportunity in the military June 2016 and immediately moved to Georgia in August 2016 were we continued our long distance relationship. December 2016 was our first big break and we planned for our families to meet over the holiday season. Little did I know, Jake had extra plans for this holiday season!

how they asked

During my first visit to Ouray, Colorado in December 2015, Jake and his mom taught me how to cross country ski on Ironton Ski Course. Having fallen in love with the sport, Jake, his mom and I decided to go again December 2016. My parents were flying out the next week, needless to say, I was excited and nervous all in the same. Two families meeting, yikes! The morning of December 29th, I had taken our 9 month puppy, Winston for a walk and went down town to rent skis for my parents. Little did I know, Jake had asked my father for permission to ask me to marry him. He said “Sir, If I don’t do it now, she might ask me!” jokingly. Needless to say, my father said yes. As I walked down the stairs, I had an Army Navy t-shirt on. Jake, who has never said this to me before, goes “you should change.” To say I was confused was an understatement. So we loaded our families into two cars and headed to the ski course. We stopped on the same bridge we took our first photo and Jake got down on one knee (in skis!) and asked me for my hand in marriage in front of my family and all our loved ones.

Image 2 of AshLeigh and Jake

Having been taken completely by surprise and overwhelmed with excitement, I said absolutely. After the photos and emotions, I asked “Why did I have to change?” Jake responded with “I couldn’t propose to you in an Army Beat Navy t-shirt!”

Image 3 of AshLeigh and Jake

After such a joyous moment, we continued our skiing adventure and began to call everyone! I will move to Georgia March 2017 and we are officially getting #LINKed in October 2018.

Image 4 of AshLeigh and Jake

Image 5 of AshLeigh and Jake

Special Thanks

Katie Link
 | Mother of Groom