A “first” for Pennington County Emergency Management
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Pennington County Emergency Management is used to responding to the worst of the worst, but what about the best of the best? They hosted Chaz and Kelsey McCarty for their wedding, but that’s not where the McCarty story started.
They met in college, more specifically, in 2016.
“Halfway through the year was when we met, it was actually two classes, English and math classes, back to back with each other. So we had plenty of time to talk and get to know each other,” Chaz says.
The pair stuck together through college and graduation, and Chaz went on to training, eventually landing the McCarty couple at Ellsworth.
“We’ve known for years now before this that we wanted to get married. Originally we planned the whole big wedding thing, and we’re still going to do that. We just have to postpone that now,” Chaz explains, since his service is taking him someplace new.
Once he was reclassified into Security Forces, “a lot of stuff was uncertain. I knew that they were probably going to move me somewhere else, and that would cost a whole bunch of money. It’s uncertain for her because, you know, until you’re married, it’s a little bit difficult for a a girlfriend or a fiancée. It’s much, much easier for a military spouse to go through something like that,” Chaz explains.
Kelsey and Chaz thus decided to get married before getting stationed overseas.
“It was actually like really cold that day, too,” Kelsey adds. “And so we couldn’t go outside. It was like snowing, actually. And so we’re like, ‘Oh, we don’t know where to go.’ The lady at the front desk told us that we could come downstairs and try to look around because it’s usually quieter. And then that’s where we ran into one of the workers here and she actually showed us this room.”
They got married in the Emergency Management room, with brownies and coffee offered up by the supportive staff.
And Chaz’s blue button down? It’s been worn for three of the special moments the couple has shared.
“When I first gave her a promise ring and then I proposed to her and then we got married, I wore the same shirt and I didn’t even know until I saw the pictures,” says Chaz, laughing.
It’s symbolic of the consistent, comforting strength of their relationship, from math class to marriage.
“I’m just looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him and going on many adventures. It’s already been a huge adventure being with him, but just with all the opportunities we will have, I’m excited for them,” says Kelsey.