A match made...at a wedding? Marine helicopter pilot Major Russ Pool and Army Public Affairs Officer Allie Weiskopf became acquainted while on active duty. A change of orders for Russ prevented him from deploying a 6th time and transferred him to Quantico, making possible their chance meeting at a mutual friend's wedding.
Now engaged to be married, Allie recalls the significance of Russ' change in duty station when he proposed: "He took me to the veteran's cemetery in Point Loma, San Diego where he stood when he had watched the ship deploy, and told me that had he gone on that deployment he would have never met me. We're a fiercely patriotic couple, so I loved being in the veteran's cemetery and the symbolism of the Marine Corps being his old family and I becoming his new family."
Allie and Russ will be married on July 7, 2012 at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer. Being a dual service couple, they chose this location because Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is the only joint Army-Marine base in the world. Also significantly, the chapel is at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, where Russ' twin brother is buried. Allie shares that "After the ceremony we plan to take a horse-drawn carriage into the cemetery and leave my bouquet for his brother."
The couple has requested donations be made to the Semper Fi Fund in lieu of wedding gifts. After 5 deployments, Russ is a strong supporter of the Semper Fi Fund and has seen first-hand the importance of serving those who have sacrificed in the name of freedom. Allie learned the value of supporting our injured and critically ill service members from her father, James Weiskopf, a VP for the Fisher House Foundation.
When asked what inspired them to request donations, Allie shared: "While stationed at the Pentagon, I spent a lot of time at Walter Reed with the injured. I would go to physical therapy with them, run errands for them, or take them out of the hospital once they were allowed to leave for a few hours. It was the most fulfilling time of my life, and a great reminder that we're all only seconds away from our lives changing forever. The perspective that our wounded warriors show us is inspiring. They rarely feel sorry for themselves, and want nothing more than to re-join their deployed units. Being there for them and the families of those making sacrifices on the front lines is a critical way to show support for our troops. On our wedding day Russ and I want to remember those working hard to keep us free."
We wish Russ and Allie all the best as they transition to this new chapter of their lives, and we thank them for their support of those who are "still in the fight" for recovery and working towards their own transitions! For regular updates, follow the wedding plans on their website.
You can support their efforts by honoring this generous couple with a donation, and by learning more about the assistance their generosity will provide! Feel free to leave your best wishes in our comment section below!