EAST JORDAN —
Eryn and Brenda Willson's wedding story is one to warm the heart.
The volunteer firefighters in Antrim and Charlevoix counties married on Christmas morning, in full fire gear, in a surprise ceremony at the East Jordan Fire Hall.
"I got married in a fire hall to a firefighter in my fire gear by a fireman," Brenda Willson said.
The couple met in college nearly six years ago and, initially, they clashed like fire and ice.
"We hated each other when we first met," Brenda Willson said. "I'm book-smart and he's hands-on smart and our teacher made us work together ... well, we ended up working the whole semester together, and I guess that's what they say: You are supposed to be with the complete opposite of you."
The romance flared. The couple moved to East Jordan and repeatedly talked about marriage, but Eryn assumed Brenda wanted a more traditional union. But Eryn was surprised when a co-worker told him Brenda talked of getting married in a fire hall.
The East Jordan fire chief added further fuel to the idea, prompting Eryn's decision to "go for it" a week before Christmas.
The wedding was planned for just after midnight on Christmas. Everyone involved wanted the wedding to be a complete surprise to Brenda. An elaborate ruse was put in place to get Brenda to the fire hall just before midnight on Christmas Eve without any inkling of what was happening.
"I told her I had to leave and go pick up a last-minute present," Eryn Willson said of his plan to escape the family home on Christmas Eve. "I told her the present wasn't in this area ... but I went (to the fire hall) to help set up and meet all the guests."
Brenda's friend Shelly McCalib showed up at the Willson home with a babysitter for the couple's five children. She told Brenda she was taking her to a late-night Christmas party.
"We get on the road, then she pulled over the vehicle and whips out a blindfold and says, 'I hope we can be friends after this. You have to do whatever I say,'" Brenda recalled.
Brenda went along with the blindfold game. Meanwhile, Eryn raced back home, got the couple's kids dressed for a wedding and returned to the fire hall with the children.
"We drive for what seems like forever," Brenda Willson said. "I'm taken out of the vehicle and there's other people there now and all of a sudden, I know the smell of the building — it's the fire hall, and I'm putting my feet in my fire boots."
The blindfold was removed and Brenda was greeted with the site of Eryn on his knees, ring in hand.
"He says, 'Will you marry me?', and he's also in fire gear," Brenda said. "The shock registers. At this point I thought my Christmas present was this huge proposal."
The surprises didn't stop there.
Brenda noticed the couple's families were present, as were her kids. She turned around again and saw firefighter-pastor Corey Wells, Bible in hand.
She and Eryn were married on the spot. Brenda Willson is still glowing over the beautiful, lifelong, surprise gift on Christmas morning.
"I had a fairy tale wedding — the kind you only read about ... in books or movies," she said.
EAST JORDAN —
Eryn and Brenda Willson's wedding story is one to warm the heart.
Prep sports scoreboard: 05/20/2013
A roundup of high school sports results from across northern Michigan:Continued ...
Family of woman killed by drunk driver: 'It's just not fair'
Paul Shafer had questions for the drunk driver who killed his wife and mother of his three children. Did he know what it's like to take his children to a graveyard on Mother's Day? Did he know what it's like to have a young daughter ask, "'I don't have a mommy anymore?'"Continued ...
Severe weather possible this afternoon
The spring’s first severe weather could hit the Grand Traverse region today.Continued ...
Sewer rates likely to rise for city residents
City homeowners can expect their base sewer charge to jump over 6 percent beginning in July under a budget proposal before the city commission.Continued ...
Great weather draws thousands to NMC Barbecue
Mother Nature dished up a glorious day for the Northwestern Michigan College Barbecue, the college's annual fundraiser that attracts thousands to its wooded campus.Continued ...
A chance to learn about Peace Ranch
The Senior Center Network and Peace Ranch are partnering for a Spring Hoedown, with square dancing and live entertainment.Continued ...
Leelanau center upgrades old building
The Leelanau Community Cultural Center is keeping stride with modern technology while maintaining the original vintage charm of its Old Art Building.Continued ...
- Sunday, May 19, 2013
New TC manager earned his gray along the way
Jered Ottenwess described himself during his interview for Traverse City manager as soft-spoken, lacking years of experience and perhaps not the most charismatic person.Continued ...
Ex-oil exec sees perilous energy future for U.S.
America is headed for an energy crisis filled with power blackouts and gasoline shortages, making today’s gas prices something to fear for in coming years.Continued ...
Townships settle 12-year-old lawsuit with Cherryland
Three holdout local townships finally settled a drawn-out tax dispute with Cherryland Electric Cooperative prior to a full hearing before the Michigan Supreme Court.Continued ...
Antrim officials make headway with meth convictions
Antrim County authorities answered a spike in methamphetamine activity with a series of arrests and convictions that they believe should send a message to meth producers and users.Continued ...
Benzie drug death leads to heroin charges
Authorities filed drug-dealing charges against a suburban Detroit man after a suspected heroin overdose death in Benzie County.Continued ...
Students recognized for math club performance
Thirty math-hungry East Middle School students recently made history. The group of seventh- and eighth-graders was the first at the school to achieve national gold level status for a club called MathCounts.Continued ...
Northbound Woodmere closed for two days
The city will shut down the northbound lanes of Woodmere Avenue from Eighth Street to Hannah Street for two days for maintenance of a city water line.Continued ...
- Saturday, May 18, 2013
Winning numbers in $600M drawing
Lottery officials: Winning numbers in $600M drawing are 22, 10, 13, 14, 52 and Powerball 11.Continued ...
Powerball ticket buyers hopeful as jackpot swells
Garrick Opie hasn’t purchased a Powerball ticket in more than a decade. But a jackpot that swelled to $600 million — the world’s second largest lottery prize — by Friday afternoon convinced Opie to throw in $20 toward the $2 tickets at the 7-Eleven store on 14th Street.Continued ...
Co-worker of fired tribal employees: ‘They should have known better’
A co-worker of the six tribal employees who shot a .22 rifle off their office building deck alleged they endangered a nearby residence, potentially polluted Lake Michigan with lead bullets, and violated human resources policy.Continued ...
Jury: Local attorney committed fraud
A jury ruled a local attorney committed fraud and malpractice in a case of a business deal gone bad.Continued ...
Man facing sex charges
A Traverse City man who faces child abuse and criminal sexual conduct charges also is accused of attempting to assault authorities who tried to arrest him.Continued ...
Model airplanes take off today in Thompsonville
If you’re in Thompsonville today, look up. Model airplane enthusiasts say you’ll be in for a treat.Continued ...
Trial scheduled for sex crime suspect
A Kalkaska man who faces 16 counts of criminal sexual conduct is scheduled to appear in court.Continued ...
Ex-local resident on 'Wheel of Fortune'
A former Frankfort resident will appear on the national game show “Wheel of Fortune.”Continued ...
- Friday, May 17, 2013
FINAL: Joliet 5, Traverse City 2
The Traverse City Beach Bums lost their 2013 Frontier League season opener 5-2 to the Joliet Slammers on Friday night.Continued ...
UPDATE: Beach Bums, Slammers tied 1-1 in 4th
The Traverse City Beach Bums are tied with Joliet 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning of their 2013 Frontier League baseball season opener.Continued ...
Trojans sweep regional meet
It came down to the final event, but when all was said and done Traverse City Central came away with two regional track championships on Friday.Continued ...
- Prep sports scoreboard: 05/20/2013