December 19, 2003. I was sitting in the Honolulu airport departure lounge, on my way back home to see my family. It had been a year since I had last been home, and as excited as I was to be doing that (I love my family), I was more nervous than anything. That night was the first time I ever talked to Chey on the phone, as I was waiting for my plane to arrive.
By the time I got back to Hawaii and did a short underway, it was my birthday and Chey and I were e-mailing, texting and talking regularly. My boat had to leave in mid-march for a few months at sea, but it was my turn to stay behind and attend some schools. With time between schools, Chey was able to come out and spend two weeks in Hawaii with me, having never met me before in person. She was taking a huge risk on me, but as she’ll say, the moment she first saw me after stepping off the airplane she knew everything was going to be alright. We had a blast those two weeks, half of the time with her little brother Matt along with us. We got to see all the sights on Oahu, and really hit it off spectacularly.
She had to get back to Wisconsin for work, and my boat would be returning soon. However, on a crazy whim, I flew up to meet her family in Watertown the weekend before my boat arrived. At that point we both knew we needed to do something drastic if we were going to make this work. I couldn’t just walk out on the Navy, so Chey sold her car and most of her stuff, said goodbye to a great job and great friends and hopped on a plane to Hawaii.
On June 30th, 2004 she moved in with me to the apartment I had just gotten a week before, after I picked her up in the car I had also bought just the week before. We had a whirlwind of a year after that, with my little sister staying with us for a while, my famliy visiting and us exchanging rings over Thanksgiving that year.
By the summer of 2005, we knew I had a deployment coming up, so in order to make things easier and safer for Chey, we decided to go ahead and make it official. I didn’t tell my family about it till afterwards (word of advice, not my wisest decision), but we were married on June 30th, 2005. It’s been quite the road since then, and I couldn’t have done almost any of it without her there to encourage, comfort, and motivate me. Thanks for hanging in there with me Chey, and here’s to another 100 years or so. Love ya!