WESTERLY — When a fellow volunteer called for Shannon Brutcher to join him and the other firefighters Thursday outside the Misquamicut Fire Department, she thought they were preparing to head out from the station to the final stop of the annual Karl E. Kenyon Smokey Bear Parade.
As Brutcher walked through the front doors, however, someone grabbed her arm and she was “walked down the aisle.” Rows of Misquamicut volunteers lined both sides of the walkway and created a “chapel” using axes, and as Brutcher approached the end of the walkway, her boyfriend, Brian Holdredge, got down on one knee and opened a jewelry case, asking her hand in marriage.
“I didn’t say anything, I was speechless. I still am,” said Brutcher, 38. “It was just amazing.”
Holdredge, 45, is a 25-year volunteer firefighter with the department. He said he was looking for a way to propose to Brutcher, a one-year volunteer, and was talking with Watch Hill Fire Lt. Christopher Koretski when Koretski suggested getting the whole department involved.
They reached out to members of the department, and it didn’t take much to get everyone on board, Holdredge said.
No wedding date has been set and there’s a lot of planning left, but Holdredge said he expects many in the department will take part in helping to celebrate the couple’s special day.
“I just wanted to do something that would be memorable and Koretski came up with this idea, the mad scientist. It was certainly special,” Holdredge said.