Local News

Some Couples Rush To Get Married Before Military Duty Calls

Posted January 13, 2003

— There is plenty to do before members of the armed services leave on a deployment. They need to gather their gear, buy last-minute items and say their goodbyes, but some Fort Bragg soldiers are adding another item on their to-do list -- getting married.

Patti Vasquez and Chris Wells are taking a quick walk down the aisle at the Cumberland County magistrate's office. Even though both of them have only known each other a month, they said they want to be together forever.

"I just love him so much. I can't see myself without him," Vasquez said.

Wells is set to be deployed to the Afghanistan region Sunday, so with $20 down, they decided to take the plunge.

Magistrate David Hall, who is a retired Special Forces soldier, has married couples in love for two years. Normally, he performs a wedding two or three times a day, but when soldiers get ready for deployment, he said the number goes up to about 12 a day.

"Having spent so much time in the military, I wonder how many will make it. I hope they all do," Hall said.

"It's part of my job, but I'm going to miss her. I'm coming back, so there's nothing to be worried about," Wells said.

Wells said he is counting the days until he will be back with his new bride. Both said they are planning a big wedding with family when Wells returns.

Sgt. Steven Henderson leaves for Afghanistan Friday. He said it will be tough on him because he is not only leaving his wife, Heather, but he is going to miss the birth of his first child.

"I know she's pregnant and I'm going to have a little girl, but it really hasn't hit me as far as the magnitude of what's going on in the world. Hopefully, I can do my best to protect her from what's going on and be a good dad and parent," Henderson said.

Heather said she plans to go home to Arkansas to have the baby, so she will not be alone.

"Being our first child, I don't know what to expect. I'm sure it will be difficult. We've gotten through other things and will get through this too," she said.

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