In 1998, Andrew Blakemore, age 17, walked the beach in front of the Sun Dial Resort and prayed for a wife. He let God know that if he answered that prayer, he would bring the young lady to that same place some day.
Almost every day since then, he has prayed that same prayer.
Well, on Labor Day weekend, Andrew Blakemore, now a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, back from active duty in Iraq for his two weeks of "R&R" saw this prayer answered when Alyssa Hart of Byron Center, Mich. said "Yes" to the question, "Will you marry me?"
Blakemore, of Spring Hill, Fla., happened to be down in Sanibel helping at a medical conference back in 1998. Andrew has a strong faith in God and he was at the point in his life when he should start praying for a wife. In 2007, while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Clearwater Christian College and also attending the University of South Floida ROTC pogram, he met Alyssa, the sister of a good friend of his.
According to Andrew, Alyssa asked him for martial arts lessons. The way he puts it, "We are the only couple I know that started out fighting!" Alyssa notes, "We just like fighting with each other!"
After a few months, the training partners became dating partners, only a couple of months before Andrew started officer training in the U.S. Army.
While much of the relationship has been long distance, especially since Blakemore has been deployed in Iraq, the couple explains that they still get to talk on the phone for two to three hours per week. Knowing he was going to be back in Florida for a couple weeks between deployments, he made sure that he would be with Alyssa on Sanibel Island so he could "pop the queston."
After several e-mails with a family friend, Marion Hauser, who has a home on Sanibel and whose father, Dick Boomer, has been a father figure to Andrew after Andrew's own father died of cancer in 1995, the time was set Labor Day weekend for the couple to visit Sanibel.
As it tuned out, Diane and Jim Geater, friends of the Hausers, invited them all to a party they were having at their home at Sun Dial on Sept. 5. When the group went for a walk on the beach, Andrew asked Allyssa to marry him. Diane Geater said, "I knew something was up because of all the hugging going on!"
While Sanibel Island is known for its majestic beauty, for this couple it will always be a reminder that God does indeed answer prayers.