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Karen and Ross - Oklahoma City couple needed rescuing from sand dunes after marriage proposal
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Karen and Ross - Oklahoma City couple needed rescuing from sand dunes after marriage proposal

You cannot vote for this story anymore, as this story participated in constest that ended on June 30, 2012

In November my boyfriend, Ross, and I planned a trip to go to Los Cruces, NM with our dogs, Stitch, Suzie and Grizzwald, where his cousin lives, and visit White Sands National Park the second week in January. We were supposed to go to White Sands on the first Sunday that we arrived in Los Cruces but a bad storm blew in just as we were checking into our hotel. The next morning after the clouds and rain disappeared, we headed to White Sands. We arrived at the park around noon and began walking with our dogs. After walking over several sand dunes and laughing and enjoying the antics of Stitch, Suzie and Grizzwald, we stopped and he hugged me and told me how lucky he was to find me and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Then, catching me totally off guard, he proposed. After I said yes, he gave me a diamond that his late grandmother had picked out for her grandson to give to his future wife. That made the moment so much more special.

After taking a photo of us as a newly engaged couple, we looked off in the distance and noticed what looked like a tree (a rare find in White Sands) and decided to walk to that before we turned around back to our car. Caught up in the excitement of being engaged and watching the dogs, we noticed after an hour of what we thought was walking toward our car, that we could not find our foot tracks anymore. We looked at our surroundings and decided we should head in another direction. After 30 minutes of walking in that direction, we started to come to the realization that we might be lost. So Ross started the daunting task of trying to call his cousin to ask her if she could give us the phone number for the park ranger. This took several phone calls because, as you can well imagine, the cell phone service in White Sands is quite sparse. We really wanted to just ask which direction we should be heading to get back to our car, but the ranger told us to just get in one spot and not move. After about 30 minutes two F-22 fighter jets circled overhead and one came down close enough to nearly blow us down. We thought, ok they have our coordinates and will be coming to get us with a ground vehicle anytime now.

Approximately 45 minutes after seeing the jets the sun went down and the temperature dropped dramatically from the sunny 50 degrees we had been enjoying. We were not dressed warmly enough for the sub-freezing temperatures we knew were going to be moving in that night. Around 6:30 p.m., about an hour after dark, we heard an engine off in the distance and lights circling up above our heads. We would later learn this was a military heat seeking Drone. A few minutes later two helicopters starting coming toward us with spotlights shining on the ground. After missing us by a few hundred feet, they went off in the distance to where we could no longer see or hear them. Then, they came back and made a couple more passes like that. On the third pass, one of them spotted us and proceeded to land about 50 feet from us. I had grabbed Stitch and Ross had grabbed Grizzwald to help shield them from the sand being blown by the high winds of the military Black Hawk helicopter that had come to our rescue. I watched Suzie and saw her run about 20 feet away in fear and then immediately turn around and come back to us. We were told to grab our dogs and board the helicopter. After Ross put Grizzwald on and I was holding both he and Stitch, he stepped back out of the helicopter and scooped up Suzie, who was brave enough to run right up to the noise.

It was definitely an engagement that will never be forgotten. Not only was I surprised about the proposal, but to get to ride in a Black Hawk helicopter?! And how many dogs get to do that?!

When we got back home, Ross's mother had a dinner party, with a cake decorated with a helicopter and three dogs on it, for us to tell all of his relatives the story. His uncle, who owns a plane and flies it himself, was extremely jealous about the Black Hawk. The ranger from White Sands wanted us to know that all the military vehicles that were involved in the rescue were already in flight on training missions and diverted to come to our rescue.

Sorry if the link doesn't work! Just go to and search for 'engagement rescue'

Thanks for reading!
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