America Supports You: Soldier Proposes During Bowl Game Halftime
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2006 Faith Jarvis, of Winston-Salem, N.C., traveled to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, in Tempe, Ariz., to try to do her bit to support the United Service Organizations, a charity that has supported America's servicemembers for generations.
Faith Jarvis of Winston-Salem, N.C., reacts as Army 1st Lt. Raymond Vera, a California National Guardsman with the 49th Military Police Brigade who has been serving in Iraq, drops to one knee to propose to her during a surprise reunion at halftime of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl football game at Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 2. The event was orchestrated by the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program. DoD photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
She did help the USO, but Jarvis left with her own prize -- a diamond ring and a surprise reunion with her boyfriend-turned-fiancé, Army 1st Lt. Raymond Vera, a California National Guardsman with the 49th Military Police Brigade who has been serving in Iraq.
Jarvis attempted to throw a football through a target 15 yards away. If she made it, Tostitos would donate $100,000 to the USO. Then, a company representative told her, she would be able to speak to Vera via a satellite link. Her throw had the distance but was wide right. Tostitos still donated $25,000 to the USO.
Then Vera trotted out in a desert camouflage uniform and the two shared a tearful hug before Vera dropped to one knee.
"Faith, I love you with all my heart, and I want to ask you if you'll marry me," he said.
Jarvis was so overwhelmed, she could barely choke out, "Of course."
The surprise reunion and proposal was arranged through the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which works to highlight things corporations and private citizens do to support America's servicemembers. Many events to support the troops centered on the Fiesta Bowl.
A pre-game ceremony honored veterans who are students and graduates of the University of Notre Dame and Ohio State University, the two teams going head to head in the match-up.
Fans were treated to an F-16 flyover and a parachute arrival by the U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue demonstration team. They also saw a large American flag stretched across the field while U.S. Military Academy Cadet Glee Club, from West Point, N.Y., performed the National Anthem.
A few days earlier, on Dec. 31, volunteers from America Supports You and local school children joined members of "Packages From Home," a Glendale, Ariz., organization that provides care packages for military members, in a military tribute segment of the 2005 Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade, presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
(Some information provided by America Supports You news releases.)