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Proposal is Port Jeff man's declaration of dependence

Terryville volunteer firefighter Craig Brozio, center, of Port

Terryville volunteer firefighter Craig Brozio, center, of Port Jefferson Station broke ranks during the Port Jefferson Fourth of July parade to get down on his knee and propose to Kara Hendricks of East Setauket. Hendricks accepted with a kiss and then the engaged couple climbed on to the back of a fire truck and the parade resumed. (July 5, 2010) Photo Credit: Joseph Dombroski

Every year, Kara Hendricks stands on Main Street in Port Jefferson and watches with pride as her firefighter boyfriend marches in the annual Fourth of July parade.

Monday, when the Terryville Fire Department stopped where she was standing along the route and her boyfriend of four years, Lt. Craig Brozio, broke rank and walked toward her, she knew this year's parade was going to be different.

Brozio, 27, of Port Jefferson Station, got down on one knee and asked Hendricks, 28, of East Setauket, to marry him.

"I was shaking, crying," Hendricks said a few hours later. "I don't even remember if I said yes or not."

Hendricks did say yes and the newly engaged couple hopped onto an antique fire truck for the rest of the route, with parade watchers cheering and snapping photos.

Brozio had planned the proposal for a couple of months. He sought permission from fire department officials and made sure family and friends would be there to witness it. "It just seemed like the perfect idea," he said. "She's always been supportive of the fire department and what I do."

Hendricks had no idea what Brozio was planning. "We go to these parades every year and no one has done anything like this here," she said. "I think I have a fantastic proposal story. I couldn't ask for anything better."

The proposal was also a surprise for Hendricks' 84-year-old grandmother, who watched it unfold, Hendricks said. Her mother knew what was going to happen and Brozio had called Hendricks' father in Florida to ask for his permission.

A wedding date hasn't been set, but the couple plans to include the fire department in the celebration.

"I believe he should always follow his dreams," Hendricks said of her fiance's passion for being a volunteer firefighter. "If he loves doing it, I'm going to support him. I just hope he always comes home safely to me."


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