Published: Feb. 11, 2012
By: Paul Suarez
In time for Valentine’s Day, consider this love story.
In 1991, Shane Gardner told his girlfriend at Central Washington University they were going on a flight with a friend of his who was in flight tech school. What he didn’t say was he planned on flying over a tarp on which he spray-painted the question: “Heidi, will you marry me?”
Gardner hid the ring inside a binocular case and waited for a response from the woman he met in his second-period history class at Mountain View High School his junior year. When she made out the words, her eyes were wide and she had a huge smile on her face, Gardner said. Yes, she said.
Fast-forward to today.
“It’s been 20 years,” Gardner said. “We’re still very happily married.”
In that time they’ve seen Shane serve four years in the Army and rise to the rank of sergeant with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Heidi worked through student teaching, earned a master’s degree at Washington State University Vancouver and secured a position teaching second grade at Harney Elementary School.
The couple have two sons, Kaden, 9 and Elias, 7.
“I live a very blessed life,” Shane said. “It’s because of her commitment to me and my commitment to her that these things work out.”
Shane said he still likes doing things to surprise his wife. When she took a trip to New York in 2010 with friends, he had a former Army buddy deliver flowers to her at dinner.
The two read “A Simple Act of Gratitude” over Christmas break. The book is about the author’s experience writing 365 thank-you notes. The Gardners decided to write notes, too. Heidi already started sending hers, not Shane.
“The first one is going to be to her,” he said. (The Columbian)