Five years ago, Patrick Rogers and Jessica Peters met through mutual friends over some Long Island seafood and craft beers. By the end of the day, they were already planning their first date.
On Thursday, the Manorville couple officially began planning their wedding after learning they’ve won Peconic Landing’s annual “Veteran’s Day Wedding Giveback” at Brecknock Hall in Greenport.
Mr. Rogers, 33, has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 13 years and has received more than 15 honors and awards throughout his military career, including his rescue and recovery efforts during the 2009 Hudson River plan crash.
Ms. Peters, 30, a producer at Telecare TV, described her fiancé as a hard worker who has decided to devote his life to the military.
“His job is something he really takes pride in,” she said. “All of his hard work — I can’t believe that it has afforded us a wedding.”
The couple got engaged in March. They said they were surprised to find out they won Thursday because they thought they were just meeting with Peconic Landing’s selection committee.
Instead, they found a room filled with cheerful staffers holding red, white and blue balloons.
“I’m shocked,” Mr. Rogers said. “I’m very grateful. This is an amazing experience.”
This is the sixth year Brecknock Hall at Peconic Landing has held its annual Veterans Day Wedding Giveback. The contest provides current or veteran service members and their significant others the opportunity to have a wedding on the North Fork free of charge on Veterans Day.
Bob Syron, president and CEO of Peconic Landing, congratulated the couple and thanked Mr. Rogers, a Petty Officer 1st Class in the U.S. Coast Guard, for his service.
“We just wanted to do something that we thought was a recognition of your service to our country,” Mr. Syron said.
Dr. Jan Harting-McChesney, a Peconic Landing resident and member of the selection committee, said the group spent time reading each application submitted by five couples.
“We all had the same first choice,” she said. “They’re an outstanding young couple. Maturity came through in their application and letter.
“They really do exemplify the values we wanted to reward.”
Photo: Patrick Rogers and Jessica Peters are the winners of this year’s Veteran’s Day Wedding Giveback through Peconic Landing. (Credit: Nicole Smith)