We met in 2017 while working together at the front desk of Powerhouse Gym in Miller Place, and quickly became friends as we bonded over our shared sense of humor and interests. It wasn’t uncommon for people to ask us if we were dating, since we were the equivalent of tweedle dee and tweedle dum; if not working together, then working out together, or bringing each other bagels when our shifts didn’t overlap. In 2018, George left for Navy bootcamp and Lauryn moved to Boston. As our life journeys separated, it began to seem like a case of ‘right person, wrong time’, but we both very much missed each other. George started his incredible career as a Navy Corpsman, traveling to Illinois, Texas, and Virginia – even deploying to South America – while Lauryn entered the work world in Boston. Through serendipity, fate, or whatever you may call it, we made our way back to each other – and it was like we picked up right where we left off. Long distance was no obstacle, as we both realized how much we wanted to be in each other’s lives. In 2020, we were able to move to California together while George finished his time in the military and Lauryn switched careers. George proposed on a trip to Joshua Tree, a few hundred feet off the ground after we climbed up piles of rocks and boulders. In 2021, George deployed to the Middle East for 6 months – his final deployment in his military career, and one of the most difficult experiences a couple can go through. Between a nearly 12 hour time zone difference, poor cell service, lengthy training exercises, and Lauryn’s work schedule, getting to hear each others’ voices was a rare and special opportunity. We kept telling ourselves if we can make it through this, we can make it through anything. "No matter what, no matter where". In August 2021, George was among those sent to Afghanistan to assist with withdrawing troops and civilians. George was involved in the devastating explosion and ambush that occurred on August 26th, taking the lives of 13 American service members, including George’s staff sergeant, Darin Hoover, and his close friend and fellow corpsman, Max Soviak. Our wedding is not only a celebration of joining our families together, it is also an opportunity to reflect on how precious life is, and how grateful we are for every day we get to spend together. There is no doubt in our minds that we are meant to be together, and having our family and friends gather and celebrate with us will be among the best and most meaningful days of our lives. _ We will be honoring Max and Staff Sergeant Hoover with their own place setting during our reception to honor and hold where they would be sitting if they could celebrate with us.