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Minnesota National Guard
A First Sergeant's Surprise

Minnesota National Guard BLOOMINGTON, Minn- The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn, became a Yellow Ribbon company earlier this year, which proclaims the company's dedication to past and present Service members and their families To celebrate this, they held its first Holiday for Heroes event at the Mall the morning of Dec 14

The event shut down the park for a few hours on Sunday to allow veterans and their families to come and enjoy all the rides for free, as well as some food and giveaways More than 3,000 took part in the event, but the day will be the most unforgettable for family and friends of 1st Sgt Robert Renning of the 133rd Airlift Wing in St Paul, Minn

The Minnesota National Guard partnered with the Mall of America to give this 133rd Airlift Wing Outstanding First Sergeant of 2014 a chance to show his longtime girlfriend his dedication and love to her by giving her a surprise proposal in front of thousands of people

Near the end of the event, a short ceremony was held in the middle of the Mall's Nickelodeon's Universe Along with passersby, veterans and their families witnessed a very special moment for this couple

The cover story was the first sergeant was receiving accolades from the Mall of America for his lifesaving efforts last summer when he saved a man from his Chevy Trailblazer that caught on fire on the side of the highway His girlfriend Asea was by his side during the event, as well as at many award presentations thereafter Again, she was in tow during Sunday's event, oblivious that this award presentation was going to be focused entirely on her

Jill Renslow, Mall of America's Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, and Rich Hoge, Vice President of Operations, spoke to the crowd Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard then took the podium He thanked the veterans in attendance for their service, and made a point to emphasize the importance of family time and serving

Then 1st Sgt Renning was able to take the microphone

As part of the cover story, Command Chief Master Sgt of the 133rd Airlift Wing Chief Master Sgt Paul Kessler told a short story about the importance of the diamond on the rank of the first sergeant, emphasizing how they take care of people After this, Renning presented his girlfriend with his coin in appreciation for all of her support

This is where the surprise started for Asea After this presentation, Nash told Renning he happened to have "another diamond for him" Renning, dressed in his blues uniform, got on one knee in front of their family and friends and the entire crowd in attendance, in the largest mall in all of America, and confessed his love for Asea and asked the highly anticipated question, "Will You Marry Me?"

To everyone's delight, she said 'yes'

December 16, 2014
by Tech Sgt Lynette Olivares
133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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