NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A private first class fresh out of US Marine Corps Basic Training surprised his girlfriend at a Stephen F. Austin State University Ladyjacks volleyball game, and it was all caught on video. The two had not seen each other in three months, and Danae Daron had no idea what would be waiting for her following the Ladyjack's big win.
"She didn't know I was here the first time she saw me was walking through the doors," said Thomas Hadnott, who has spent the last several months in San Diego training for the Marines. "She had no idea I was even there."
Daron said the second she noticed him sitting in the stands was a moment she will never forget.
"I looked up and saw him and just immediately started crying because I haven't seen him in so long and it was just so emotional, I missed him so much," Daron said. "I just thought it was a surprise visit, and he just kept talking to me repeating himself, telling me how much he loved me, and then he said I have a question for you."
This was the moment she and Hadnott's lives changed forever. In front of the packed house at Shelton Gym he got down on one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him.
"I just couldn't believe it, I missed him so much so at first I was just trying to process seeing him for the first time, and then when he asked, I was just so emotional," Daron said.
The two started dating when they were in the eighth grade, so over the past five years they have had their ups and downs. She said that when he first told her he wanted to enlist she didn't know what to think.
"I am going to be honest at first I wasn't happy because I didn't want him to leave me. During the whole process, and going through all the paper work it was just so surreal, but I knew this is what he wanted to do so of course I am so proud of him," Daron said.
Over the course of the three months Daron reflected on the most difficult part of their separation.
"I couldn't talk to him, of course I wrote him letters, but that took a week at a time so it was really really hard, but I think it definitely made us stronger," Daron said.
They aren't planning the wedding for anytime soon. Their first priority for her will be finishing college at SFA and continuing her volleyball career, and he will complete the Marine Corps training program.
"School and finishing his responsibilities will be our number one, it is the only way to ensure we both fufill our duties and then we can build a life," Daron said.
For those dealing with their own long distance relationships, Daron had her own words of wisdom.
"If its someone you love, just stick through it," Daron said. "No matter how hard it gets, because it will be hard. There was a lot of crying, sadness, loneliness, but I knew in my heart that I loved this guy."
They both said that without the help and support from family and friends their fairy tale proposal would not have been possible. Surrounded by all of their loved ones, they said they are so excited to begin their 'happily ever after.'
The video, which was posted on the SFA Athletics Facebook page late Tuesday night, has already garnered more than 900 likes and more than 260 shares.