By Christine Peets, Staff Intern
Thanksgiving Day, and the week surrounding it, is a universal time to appreciate the things in life that people are most thankful for.
Friends, family, food, health and shelter are always chart toppers. But, this Thanksgiving, one woman is thankful for something that encompasses all those gifts into one story.
Brittany Fetterman, a bio-chem major at SUNY Oswego and member of the United States military, is thankful to have witnessed one of her best friends from high school get married.
For many, the road that leads to the altar is filled with challenges.
Finding the venue, the perfect dress, the right decorations and the ideal cake, are all to-dos that require special attention.
For Emily Ball and Jessie Fletcher, the road to exchange vows was no different a few months before the big day.
The events of Oct. 17, 2011, are what make Fetterman and many others, so thankful to witness the matrimony of Ball and Fletcher.
In 2011, Fletcher and his fellow Marines were carrying out a mission in Afghanistan when a series of explosions went off.
“There were nine of us on a hill and seven IEDs,” Fletcher said.
The explosions caused Fletcher to lose both legs above the knee, multiple fingers, partial hearing loss and a severe concussion.
Immediately following the explosions, a Navy corpsman Donald Carter, the serving medic for the unit, rushed to Fletcher’s side to perform life-saving procedures.
“Donald’s really a private person. You rarely see a grown man cry in battle, but I could see in Donald’s face how bad it was,” Fletcher said.
The months following the explosions, Fletcher’s family and friends, including Fetterman, prayed for his recovery.
“There is no way to describe what it feels like when someone you have known for so long is in such pain and danger. It makes you realize how important your place here on earth is, because it can be taken from you at any moment,” Fetterman said.
The road to recovery was long and trying, but Fletcher healed, and received a Purple Heart.
On Nov. 16, Fetterman and 200 others traveled to join Fletcher and Ball at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC, for their wedding.
Carter joined the two as man and woman under softly lit colors of teal and purple. The ideal cake was provided by Cake Boss and the food was abundant.
“I wanted Donald to know that he did more than save a life that day,” Fletcher said. “He brought me back from the battlefield, yes. But, more importantly, he brought me back to my Emily.”
In the spirit of giving and honoring life, Childress Vineyards offered their winery as a venue to Ball and Fletcher. In addition, The Perfect Pair coordinators offered their design services and Steve Davis Photo and Video offered their photography services.
“The wedding is so beautiful and a testament to their love,” said a guest.
“It’s times like these that you realize what to be thankful for. It was so nice to witness so much health, love, support and food in one place – especially when you fear that it may not have been able to happen at all,” Fetterman said. “There are so many situations that make you thankful for one or two things in particular, but this wedding made me thankful for everything.”