“Will you marry me?”
Sgt. 1st Class Nigel Dunn had been waiting more than six months to ask his girlfriend, Ashlie Duenas, that very question since he purchased the engagement ring while deployed in Afghanistan as the platoon sergeant for 4th Platoon, 502nd Human Resources Company, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command.
He finally got his chance as he and 20 other soldiers were welcomed home by their families and friends at the command’s Soldier and Family Readiness Center on Thursday.
“I’ve been holding onto this ring since December; as soon as I got back was the perfect time,” said Dunn, who said he was nervous leading up to the proposal. “I’m a shy kind of person but she deserves it. She’s been by my side for five years and it’s about that time.”
Duenas said she was caught off guard by the proposal, but was thrilled to have Dunn home again with her and their 4-year-old son, Nigel Dunn Jr.
The soldiers from 502nd had been deployed for nine months providing postal services to more than 5,000 soldiers in remote locations near Kandahar.
First Lt. William Harp, company commander, said that his soldiers held a vital mission for all the service members in theater, delivering the mail and providing a link back to the families waiting at home.
“Any time you can have a small piece of home, or a message from the families, it means a lot and can help relieve some of the stress while in that environment,” Harp said.
Though it is always a special time to reunite soldiers with their loved ones after a period of time away, this redeployment ceremony will always ring special for Dunn and Duenas.
Duenas’ answer was, “Yes!” and her fiancé placed the engagement ring on her finger.