Ever since this firefighter first laid eyes on his girlfriend while volunteering at the school where she works as a counselor, he knew she was more than just a flame.
“Our fire department was volunteering to pass out water at a walk-a-thon on Sept. 19,” Justin Deierling told GoodMorningAmerica.com of his first encounter with now fiancée Megan Zahorec. “I met her there and I thought she was somebody super-special. Now, fast forward six months later and I wanted to propose.”
Deierling, 31, knew how special Zahorec’s school kids were to her, and however he decided to propose, he wanted to be sure to include them.
“She loves the kids and she loves her job and I wanted to incorporate the kids,” Deierling said. “So I contacted the PTO president and the principal and they helped me plan it. It was a big surprise.”
After two weeks of secret planning, the groom-to-be not only had his surprise marriage proposal location set at Zahorec’s school, Greentown Intermediate School in North Canton, Ohio, he also had the exact date chosen: March 19, exactly six months to the day after they first met there. And he wasn’t going to show up without bearing gifts for the kids, too.
Deierling and his fellow firefighters came prepared with 550 ring pops, enough for every child to celebrate their soon-to-be engagement with them.
The school has a quarterly fire drill that Zahorec helps organize and execute, and what better way for a firefighter to propose than by showing up when he’s needed?
“I was up there with my clipboard trying to count the kids and checking things off for the teachers,” Zahorec, 27, explained of that fateful day. “I was nervous about the fire drill and being in charge, and he started coming up and trying to talk to me.”
Trying to maintain her professionalism and keep track of all the children outside, she was too distracted to notice the real reason Deierling was actually there. But it wasn’t long before the screaming kids gave it away.
“They saw the sign before she did and they went wild,” Deierling recalled of the special “Will You Marry Me?” banner he had made that was strategically hanging from his red fire truck.
“I was just like, ‘Oh, my gosh, no way,” Zahorec said. “I was completely shocked. I felt like I’m going to pass out.”
The stunned school counselor eventually regained composure enough to say “yes.”
“I was so surprised but I didn’t even have to think about it,” Zahorec explained of her easy answer. “Just two months after being with him I couldn’t imagine life without him.”
The happy couple have no concrete wedding date set yet, but they are aiming for the summer when she’ll be out of school and have more free time.
Her students would beg to differ, however.
“They are just so excited,” Zahorec said. “They want me to get married in the gym and they want to be my flower girls and ring bearers.
Or, if the weather’s nice, they said maybe I should do it on the field.”