Crystal & Patrick

Crystal Bell and Patrick Hanlon

Crystal Bell and Patrick Hanlon

The bagpipes were calling and the officers were marching. Respect, pride, and love filled the hanger. Patrick was graduating from the police academy with 34 other men and women. I was so proud and happy watching him take his oath to protect and serve the city. Patrick and I had been together just short of two years and he’d been trying to get onto this police department for almost as long. It had been a very long journey for both of us but we’d finally made it.

Once all of the officers were dismissed, both of our families smothered Patrick with handshakes and hugs as cameras flashed. Since both families were in town, including his parents who had flown in from Connecticut, we had a big family party for Patrick so that those who couldn’t make the graduation could come and celebrate. We rented out the clubhouse to our apartment complex because it had plenty of room for everyone. Thankfully, and not surprisingly, everyone got along great having just met each other. It truly felt like we were already one family that day.

After dinner, Patrick began opening his cards and gifts while the family stood in a half circle around him. He began to thank everyone in the room by name for all that they’d done to help him get to where he was that day. I noticed my brother and a few others look my way as Patrick spoke, an excited look in their eyes. I won’t lie, as at that point I knew it was coming. But I think when you reach that moment, even though you know what it is, a part of you is disbelieving that it is finally there.

“But if it weren’t for Crystal,” he gestured me over. I heard the shift of excitement within the room. Thankfully my younger brother was videotaping because after Patrick called me over I didn’t process anything that he said until he got down on his knee. I saw the beautiful sparkling in the purple box and then Patrick looking up at me. “Will you marry me?”
It was one of the most beautiful and wonderful days of my life. I am so proud of Patrick for all of his hard work and dedication to make it onto the police department and I am so excited to become his wife. Patrick made sure we started our engagement surrounded by the love of our family, which is also how we will begin our marriage September 28th, 2014.