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High-flying proposal; Boyfriend pops question during holiday on Lake Bridgeport

By David Talley | Published Saturday, July 8, 2017
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The Big Day

THE BIG DAY – Stacey Elliot and Brian Stocks (right) pose with Danny and Pam Talley (Right), after Brian proposed to Stacey at Lake Bridgeport. Pam is Stacey’s best friend and the couple drove from Longview for the occasion. Submitted photo

It was 3:02 p.m. and Brian Stocks was nervous.

The plane he’d hired to fly over Lake Bridgeport, towing a banner reading “I love you Stacey, will you marry me?” was late. His girlfriend, Stacey Elliot, was nearby, completely unaware of Brian’s uneasiness.

UP IN THE AIR – Brian Stocks’ message to his girlfriend was visible around the lake. Submitted photo

The two met three years ago through mutual friends, and Brian recalls knowing immediately he would one day want to marry Stacey. Living in California while she lived in Haltom City, he said they made the long-distance relationship work through traveling for work.

“We’ve been doing that for well over three years now, and as the relationship blossoms you start to think about taking it to the next level,” he said. “I always thought, ‘Boy, I’d like to do something that’s really intense,’ not just a nice dinner and put the ring in a drink or something, but something that would be super memorable and also be able to include family.”

Stocks settled on an aerial banner and set the time and date back in June to coincide with Stacey’s parents’ Independence Day party at their home on the lake. He said the company warned him at the time that several variables could play a role in when or whether the banner would show.

“They definitely told me these things don’t go as planned,” he said. “There’s weather involved. There’s mechanical failure that can happen. All kinds of different things, they told me, ‘So as much as we want you to get your hopes up, please know that there’s definitely known risks that can happen.’ So I said, ‘no problem.'”

As the deadline neared, Stocks said Stacey’s parents, Doug and Cheri Dunlap, asked that the 1 p.m. flyover be moved back to 3 p.m. Stocks called the company and had it moved.

EYES SKYWARD – Back on the ground, the couple enjoyed the moment. Submitted photo

“I don’t think I’ve watched the Weather Channel and the radar more closely than I did then,” he joked. “The wind actually started picking up in the morning and I saw whitecaps on the lake. Doug has been a pilot in the past. I kept pulling him aside to ask, ‘is this OK?’ He kept telling me it was fine.

“I was nervous, but not totally, because I thought, ‘Either way it’s going down,'” he said. “With or without the plane. It’s going to happen today.”

Three o’clock came and Stocks was standing in the yard with Stacey’s brother, looking out across the lake. Just as he started to wonder aloud if the plane was coming, the two heard its engine. He made sure the spelling was correct before calling Stacey over. Elliot said she at first mistook the banner for an advertisement.

“The kids had been shooting off daytime fireworks, so I thought he was going to be showing me something like that,” she said. “I saw the plane and I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anyone advertising over Lake Bridgeport.’ Then it dawned on me what I was reading.”

She looked back down to see Brian down on one knee holding a ring.

“And that’s when the shock set in,” she said. “Everything is kind of fuzzy from there.”

Elliot said she’s thought back now to how nervous Brian may have been and the preparation that went in to the proposal.

“I’ve had to think back to things before it happened, not knowing that it was going to happen,” she said. “There was a storm that came through the night before. I thought, ‘I wonder what he was feeling during the moments of the storm.’ There are so many things you think about after the fact that could have kept this from happening, but it could not have been a more perfect day having family there. The weather was perfect. Everything was just perfect.

“It is definitely something that will never be forgotten.”

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