Patrick was tired of getting stuck in the “friends zone” when it came to his relationships with women. The 24-year-old from Charleston had plenty to offer—a devout Catholic raised in a close, extended family atmosphere in Kansas, was now serving his country in the Navy. There had to be the right girl who would see in his strong character, something more than friendship.
At first, it didn’t appear as though it would be Heidi. The same age as Patrick, and raising her 18-month-old son in Ohio, she found Patrick “kind of annoying,” even as they corresponded. Then something small changed the dynamic. “I added a picture of me in my dress blue trousers and undershirt singing into my lint roller,” he recalled. “(Heidi) found me a little more attractive due to my sense of humor.
That first online connection took place in the spring of 2011, and once they broke through and got comfortable with each other, plans were made for Heidi and her son to come down to South Carolina for a long weekend.
“It was strange after all our conversations being messages, phone calls and texts,” Patrick said regarding the extensive face-to-face contact. But they had a fantastic time, enjoying dinner and nighttime walk on the beach, along with a visit to Isle of Palms. When it was over, Patrick and Heidi both hoped the next visit would not be long in coming.
One month later, Patrick wangled some leave time and was able to visit Heidi and her family.
Heidi also grew up in a close, extended family environment and Patrick was able to spend three days meeting a good number of them over a three-day weekend in Mount Vernon. After she was able to later come to South Carolina for Thanksgiving and be with Patrick’s Navy buddies, he was sure this was the girl he wanted to marry.
January 2012 was his opportunity. He was able to spend a belated “mini-Christmas” with his family back in Wichita and Heidi flew out to be a part of it. Patrick communicated with her father via Skype and secured his blessing. In the meantime, Patrick’s family was loving Heidi and her little boy as much as he, so Patrick involved her son in his plans.
“I gave him the ring box and told him ‘take this to Mommy,’” Patrick recalled. When the boy went running into the room with it, Patrick followed, got down on one knee and proposed, and Heidi accepted.
The couple planned their wedding for July of that same year, although the challenges of military life have been upon them. Patrick was transferred to Norfolk, and then to his first submarine assignment. “(There is) little or no communication during those time periods and little chances for leave,” Patrick told CatholicMatch. It’s yet another example of the many daily sacrifices that not just military members, but those who love them, make for their country.
July came soon enough though, and Patrick and Heidi were married. He’d come a long way from being relegated to “friends” status.