We actually dated for a couple months in high school, but since Zach is a little younger than me, we went our separate ways after I graduated in 2002. We stayed really great friends and kept in touch for years after.
In the fall of 2008, I had come home to visit from college for the holidays. While out with some girlfriends, I ran into Zach and it was an instant rekindled spark. He was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base as a criminal investigator. We continued to keep in touch, until early April 2009, when I moved back to Wichita Falls. We started dating again, and he was soon sent on a deployment to the United Arab Emirates in mid May 2009.
Before I moved home, I had accepted a job at Sheppard Air Force Base, which turned out to be the biggest blessing! We were able to talk on the phone briefly each day from base to base, and almost every day at home during his deployment. After having known each other for 10 years or so, we got to know each other all over again by talking and emailing every single day. I just knew he was the one!
We talked about getting married and knew it was it. So throughout the seven months he was deployed, he had been corresponding with a jeweler in Wichita Falls via email, to custom make the most gorgeous ring. When it was completed, he had his dad pick up the ring until he arrived back home to get it. He had also called my parents, across the world, to ask their permission to marry me and I never even knew!
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, the airmen that were deployed with Zach were finally coming home. All of our family and closest friends knew that he was planning to propose when he came off the plane, except for me, and they were all waiting at the airport together. Anxiously waiting for his plane to arrive, I had no idea, and thought everyone was there just to support him coming home.
The Patriot Guard and the local news team were there to capture the airmen coming home. Kelly Trimble, photographer and family friend, was also there, but to capture a moment I had no idea was coming! We saw the airmen coming in from the terminal and my heart started racing. As soon as I saw him, that hug was so amazing and emotional. So many tears of joy!!
After hugging me, he turned to hug his mom, then his sister, and lastly his dad, where his dad secretly handed him the ring that he was seeing in person for the first time.
As I was so excited and celebrating his arrival with our family and my best friends, he turned around to me again and got down on one knee with this beautiful ring and proposed!
Photos by Kelly Kate Photography