Luke and I met on New Year's Eve in 2008. I was visiting my sister in his hometown--Cortland, NY--and he was home on leave from Iraq. As a matter of fact, his buddies and he had just come from Luke's best friend Shawn's grave. The two joined the army together in 2005, and Shawn didn't make it out.
Luke got out of a cab that night, and I looked into his face and thought he was gorgeous--big, strong, with kind eyes. I gave him my number, and I had never given anyone my number before. He said that he thought I was out of his league.
Nevertheless, we texted and wrote letters, emails, and sent care packages while he was stationed in Alaska and continued while he was deployed in Afghanistan. He completed his service in March of 2010 and moved to the Albany area to be with me.
That following fall, he started taking classes with the GI Bill at HVCC and the Sage Colleges of Albany as a biology major. He is a chemist, and I am an English teacher.
We'd been together a while, but I think that Luke must have known me well enough to know that I'd love to be surprised by an engagement; so we never talked about it, and, on August 15th, Luke decided that we needed a weekend getaway. We packed up the car to go to the 1000 Islands, and he took me to the top of Rock Island Lighthouse (my classroom is filled with lighthouse figurines, drawings, and photographs), and he asked me to be his wife.
He'd chosen the ring, had it designed, and had managed to keep it a secret from everyone--even our parents, until after he asked me.
We're pretty lucky to have found each other, and we're grateful to be planning a special day for our loved ones.