God puts us in places at certain points of our life to make connections that bless and shape our future.
This is truly what I believe happened Back in March 2008. On that cool early spring evening I attended a viewing for a close and long-time family friend, Gerald Holmes. Gerry was my Father’s partner of 25 plus years on the Summit Police Department.
Police families share a common bond. Growing up in a police family, many of our friends were the children of other police officers. So when one of our fathers’ brothers falls, it is a loss for all of the children of the police family.
It was with a heavy heart that I went to the Pilgrim Baptist Church to pay my respects to Gerry and his family. Much to my surprise, this was not a somber event. The prayer service was led by the PBA minister, Ron Martin. Ron was amazing.
When he spoke, it was with such conviction and inspiration. This was not a sad story. Ron showed us that this was a time for celebration. Gerry was now with God. He was in the love and care of Jesus and that night we celebrated Gerry’s life.
A seed was planted on March 18, 2008.
Fast forward 4 years. In February 2012, I asked my soul mate to stand beside me and be my wife. From the start, we did things differently. We chose to have our wedding on a farm in Dallas Pennsylvania. The setting was a sprawling horse farm with rolling green fields set among the Pocono Mountains. The ceremony was out doors in an open field under a majestic oak tree.
The reception was in the large beautiful barn. Liz and I embrace the simple things of country living. The celebration of our day was truly a picture into who we are and what we believe.
When it came to choose the person to officiate our wedding, it was an easy choice. It would be Ron Martin. I called my dad and asked if he would ask Ron if he would consider sharing our day with us and doing us the honor of officiating our wedding. Ron immediately told my dad he would be honored, so the only thing left was to let Liz meet Ron.
I remember the meeting. Ron came over on break and pulled up in his patrol car, in full police uniform. He looked like he was here to resolve a domestic dispute, not to talk about the celebration of our future life together. We sat around the picnic table and from the minute we joined hands to thank God for bringing us together there was an instant connection. We talked about our lives; the journey we had taken that brought us to this exact moment in our lives. It was like old friends reminiscing.
I saw the happiness in my beautiful bride to be’s eyes, I knew we had made the right decision.
We met with Ron on several occasions during the year that we were planning our wedding. Planning a wedding is stressful. We had so many worries, would it rain? Could we pull off the coordination of all of the vendors, would our families travel to PA to celebrate with us, would everyone get along? And could we afford everything we were planning? Each time Ron would talk to us and make us realize that these worries were normal. And what ever happened, it was God’s plan and it was going to be beautiful, Ron inspired us to put our faith in Jesus and he would ensure we had a spectacular day.
When the weekend of our wedding finally arrived, we were so happy that Ronnie, Karen and Olivia were able to spend the entire weekend with us. When Ronnie stood before us under that majestic oak tree, he was joining two family members in the unity of God. He spoke of us as his friends, his family. We could not have imagined a more spectacular ceremony.
We thank Ronnie for his friendship, guidance and inspiration and finally for becoming friends for life. We are so blessed to have welcomed Ronnie, Karen and Olivia Martin into our lives!
—Eric and Elizabeth Formichella