hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

December 12, 2013

Company right to step up and help military couple

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — It couldn’t have worked out any better for them.

Mark Leonard and Rachel Blydenburgh served with our country’s military in Afghanistan.

They risked their lives for what they believe in. Both suffered serious injuries as a result.

They recovered, but not before meeting each other along the way.

They have longed to get married, but had a dream image of how it would happen. As they held onto the dream, they knew it would cost plenty and force them to delay their plans while they saved.

Then Leonard heard about a Wounded Warrior that would provide a free wedding to the right couple. On a whim, he took a chance and applied.

The next thing they knew, the couple was scheduled to enjoy a posh wedding for free at the exclusive Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill. (See story, Page 1.)

Their dream is coming true — as if it were meant to be.

But none of it would have happened without the willingness of Renaissance to step up and serve our military through the Wounded Warrior project, which helps injured military personnel get back on their feet, both literally and figuratively.

Renaissance officials said the event will cost $150 to $300 per person. The couple plans to have more than 100 people attend. It won’t come cheap for the golf club.

Other local companies have also stepped forward to donate the floral arrangements, photography and other services.

Kudos to them and Renaissance for their generosity.

The wedding will be on July 4, an appropriate day, given the patriotism and bride- and groom-to-be feel for their country.

Here’s hoping they have a great day, and also that other local businesses follow suit if they have a chance.

Those who step in harm’s way to serve with the military risk their lives. They deserve something like this in return.