Happiness filled the room as a Jennifer Lenzi and Trenton Zanow entered Peconic Landing Monday afternoon, as staff held balloons and American flags to surprise the winners of the 2018 Veterans Day Wedding Giveback.
Staff Sergeant Jennifer Lenzi, 23, and Air Force Technical Sergeant Trenton Zanow, 27, are both actively serving in the United States Air Force. The couple met at the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach and now serve as members of the Connecticut Air National Guard 103rd Airlift Wing.
“To know that there are people out there that support the military this much and they’re willing to go above and beyond to give us the wedding of our dreams, it’s so amazing,” Staff Sgt. Lenzi said. “Not just for us, but all the people who have gotten it in the past and who will get it in the future.”
Staff Sgt. Lenzi and Tech Sgt. Zanow were led to believe they were coming to Greenport for a second interview for the wedding giveback. After answering several questions from committee members, the pair was led into a room filled with Peconic Landing employees shouting “surprise!”
The wedding will be held at Brecknock Hall this Veterans Day weekend, exactly one year after Tech Sgt. Zanow proposed while on a helicopter ride in Rhode Island.
“It has been some time since we had a couple actively serving at the same time,” Peconic Landing CEO Bob Syron said. “It’s also very fitting to say you’ve served in our local community.”
Staff Sgt. Lenzi is originally from Ridge and Tech Sgt. Zanow is from Batavia, NY. The couple makes care packages for military members overseas, as well as donating to local food pantries and clothing banks.
Twelve couples applied for the eighth annual Wedding Giveback this year, including two active service couples, which is a record number, according to Mr. Syron.
“I’m amazed to see young people like yourselves serving our nation and protecting all of our families,” Mr. Syron told the couple. “It’s our honor to do something like this because of the sacrifice you make.”
The two are decorated service members. Both have received the Air Reserves Forces Meritorious Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
“Being an adult sets in, and we just bought a house, so other priorities took over and I didn’t think we would really have a wedding because we have other responsibilities,” Staff Sgt. Lenzi said. “I wasn’t really expecting to have a wedding.”
The event is sponsored by Peconic Landing and is made possible by contributions from local businesses and organizations. An estimated $60,000 worth of services and in-kind donations are contributed each year.