Local Marine proposes with Christmas lights before returning to duty | NevadaAppeal.com

Local Marine proposes with Christmas lights before returning to duty

Karl Horeis

Kelley Josten, a Carson City native and Marine returning to duty at Cherry Point, N.C. today, led his girlfriend Cassie Kastens up the V&T trail behind Silver Oak Golf Course in the dark.

The couple came across red roses he had scattered every few feet earlier in the day until they reached a view point marked with roses in the shape of a heart.

He faced her, with his back to the city, hit the speed dial button on his phone (signaling his friend waiting at a house) and as he dropped to one knee, Christmas lights on a fence below flashed: “Will you marry me?”

“I thought she was going to fall over,” he said later, describing Kastens’ reaction to his elaborate proposal last Sunday night. “She started crying — she almost started hyperventilating.”

Cassie remembers the same.

“I started crying,” she said. “I was so happy. I was like cracking up and I just started crying.”

The two, who have been dating for a year and three months, met as students at Carson Middle School.

Kastens, who recently transferred from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to UNR where she is a junior, is studying elementary education. The two plan on waiting to get married until she has completed her student teaching requirement.

Josten expects it to be another year and a half before they tie the knot.

He has served for two and a half years with the 2nd LAAD Battalion of the Marine Corps doing low altitude air defense. When he ships out today he’ll be gone for about nine months. He says he and Cassie have mostly kept in touch over phone lines, though she has been able to visit him at his base a few times.

“I’ll try and get back out there before February,” she said.

When the newly engaged couple came down off the hill, family and friends were gathered to congratulate them. There were both sets of parents, Steve and Susan Kastens and Dave and Pat Josten, as well as Kelley’s two younger brothers and several friends. The newly engaged couples’ fathers each offered a good luck toast.

Josten came up with his elaborate proposal scheme with the help of his close friends John Chirila, 20, who’s house they gathered at afterwards, Jeff Johnson, 21, Chris VanZant and Steven Prehm, both 20. He said they worked all day Sunday on getting the lights set up and scattering the roses. Also, he still had to ask Kasten’s parents, Steve and Susan, for their blessing. That meant having friends run interference with Cassie. It all came together beautifully.

In the end, it was Chirila on the other end of the speed dial who hit the switch to turn on the sparkling Christmas-light proposal.

The young couple plans to settle in Reno after their wedding.