Captain Luke Bradshaw’s Promotion Weekend
Well, it’s Tuesday night, and we have just about recovered from the excitement of this past weekend, which was certainly one for the memory books…Luke is officially a Captain in the U.S. Army, and as his wife, I could not be more proud. We are so blessed to have family and friends who care about us and who helped to make his big day last Friday so special; near or far, each of you have such a special place in our hearts, and your well wishes truly made our weekend as we began this new journey as a family. His career will be changing a bit in the months to come, but your love and support have fully prepared him to step up into whatever role may be next.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a majority of this post will just be some photos that share a special story in and of themselves. I must begin of course with credit to the photographer, my lovely friend Brooke Rutherford. Also a West Point Army/Field Artillery wife, Brooke said goodbye to her own husband for 9 months just three days before these photos were taken. While a deployment is never easy, it is an especially difficult undertaking with two little ones at home. Brooke went to a lot of trouble to arrange a babysitter (special shout out to our mutual friend Nikki and her mom who graciously agreed to watch Brooke’s kiddos, even though Nikki just had her first baby within that week!) while Brooke came out to photograph Luke’s big day. Super Woman that she is, Brooke even had the photos edited and posted for us later that same night, knowing I would be eager to see them. The Army Spouse Club is such a special sisterhood, and I am fortunate to have already made some relationships with women here whom I already know will be my friends for life.
Without further ado, here is a glimpse into Luke’s ceremony from Brooke’s perspective. Logistics issues and an almost-panic attack (on my part) aside that she wouldn’t be there for the ceremony, she managed to capture every moment.
A couple of notes on the pinning ceremony; the Colonel was kind enough to loosen the shoulder boards for me and gave me a quick run through in advance. Thank goodness too, because it’s been awhile since I did this with the LT boards, and they can be a bit tricky! Also, my heels kept sinking into the grass, so I tried to stand on my toes the whole time haha. I didn’t realize the ceremony would be outside until the day of, and although the day was slightly chilly with a breeze, it was a beautiful day for a ceremony! No rain to speak of, and the cloud cover provided great lighting for photos. Plus, I got to wear my red Field Artillery officer’s wife dress; I picked this out on sale over the summer for just such an occasion, and I was thrilled to get to wear it, short bell sleeves and all! I was a little afraid October in Oklahoma might be too cold, but Antonio Melani is one of my favorite designers, and his clothes seem to fit me the best, so I really wanted it to work out. Well, all’s well that ends well. 🙂
After the ceremony, Luke gave a short and sweet speech. I was so happy to hear him thank God first and foremost. He also mentioned me as his Rock and every other person in the place….except his own parents! They noticed that somewhere in all of his efforts to include everyone else in the audience he accidentally skipped two of the people who have supported him the most throughout his life. He referred to his “folks” (i.e. Kevin and Sally) but didn’t say Mom and Dad by name so they thought he meant the entire extended family. Fortunately, they didn’t take offense and pointed it out later in a joking manner! :0
It was time to eat! Luke let everyone know to join us inside for wait for it….Chick-fil-A! No real surprise there that we would serve the very best for his big day (and I may have a connection or two!)
Luke’s favorite Chick-fil-A menu item is Chicken Minis, and since we held the ceremony right around brunch time, we were able to feature those along with the more classic lunch nuggets, fruit and lemonade. We also had my personal favorite CFA “secret item;” the Chilled Grill Sub. I say it’s a secret, but it is actually available to everyone, just on the catering menu only. This cold sub is served with Honey Roasted BBQ sauce and is simply delicious! My bosses from my Chick-fil-A family, Angie and Jonathan, came out to support us and personally served the food throughout the whole event. They did such a nice job, and Luke and I really, really appreciated that they were there for us.
CFA catered the entire event except the cake, which we ordered from Johnson’s Bakery. We had originally wanted to use Cool Cakes by Lindsey (Shout out to Lindsey DeLozier from our Sunday School class,) but she was booked solid that weekend. Johnson’s came through for us though and the classic sheet cake (half vanilla/half chocolate) with buttercream icing served us nicely.
Anticipated numbers fluctuated a bit, and we planned for 40 people at the reception. I even added a tray of food the day of just to be sure we had enough. Well, we ended up with more than 40 because we ran out of plates toward the end! We found some extras, and it all turned out OK, but we were so honored to have everyone there to celebrate with us.
Luke’s commander Grant Redmond and his wife Lydia and daughter Ella came out for our big day (also our dear friends and neighbors!) Lydia has been such a Godsend here, and she let me borrow her fridge to store the cake since my own fridge was chock full of food for our out-of-town guests! She also let me get ready and shower at her house the morning of the ceremony because it was important to me to let my in laws have the space to take all of the time they needed to get ready at our house; our home on Fort Sill is charming, but it’s one drawback is that it only has one bathroom. It can make for cramped quarters any time, but entertaining becomes more challenging for sure. Lydia came through in a big way for us (even if she is a Tennessee fan!) I hate that we didn’t get a photo of all 5 of us, but here is a pic of us girls, anyway!
We had family come from far and wide to celebrate with us for the weekend. Luke’s parents, Kevin and Sally came in from North Carolina with his Uncle Howard and Aunt Suzy, his Aunt Mary flew in from Ohio and his Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Susan made a long detour in Oklahoma on their annual trip from Alaska to Florida. Thus, I thought it might be the perfect day to
drag everyone utilize Brooke’s talents to get a few photos of all of us together by the historic cannons and artillery vehicles on base.
The guys are especially not big picture fans but I promised them that they will treasure them for years to come, and I really think Brooke outdid herself. Here are a few of my favorites from our photo shoot!
Luke and I striking a pose.
Luke and his father, Kevin.
Luke and his mother, Sally.
The four of us all together…We were really missing his sister, Hannah, and his brothers Jacob, Samuel and Milos and their wives, Adrianna and Lauren.
The whole extended family that came to visit- from L to R: Aunt Mary, Kevin, Sally, Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Susan, Luke, Amanda, Uncle Howard and Aunt Suzy
Uncle Howard and Aunt Mary both served in the Armed Forces as well, so this was an especially big day for these guys. So honored and proud to be part of this patriotic family.
Just Luke…We couldn’t resist getting a couple of individual snapshots!
Luke with all of the women in his life–well most of them anyway! 😉
And the guys!
Aunt Susan liked this particular cannon because it matched her outfit…This is where all the men began to sigh. Haha
Proud wife…Luke took this photo because “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” Haha just kidding; sort of.
These two photos were meant to emulate the traditional Trophy Point cannon photo we never took at West Point. Luckily we had plenty of cannons around to accommodate!
I wanted to show the entire area as well as our family, and I think these last pictures turned out super cute! Thank you again, Brooke for your hard work and for being such a good friend to us here at Ft. Sill.
The rest of the weekend was so much more stress free! We chilled in our pj’s and played cards, explored Geronimo’s Grave, ate some delicious food and just enjoyed being together as a family.
Meer’s is our absolute favorite burger joint in town, and taking visitors here is becoming something of a tradition. You really can’t get much better than this hole in the wall for a stellar piece of beef!
Sunday we enjoyed taking the family to our new church home, and they got to meet the friends in our Sunday School class, which is one of the most tight knit classes I have ever attended. They are such a blessing to us, week in and week out. Then, we explored Mount Scott with Brooke’s son Luke (told you we’d get you back for the photo shoot, sweet friend!) The views from up there were amazing.
And, that’s a wrap! We are now back to our work week grind, but I could not let this event go by without writing a blog about the fun time we all had…and of course, huge props to my husband, Luke, for his accomplishments thus far. I know he will continue to succeed no matter where life may take us!