Groom

By Debbie Gregory

Air Force veteran Thomas Martineau was willing to do whatever necessary to give his new wife, Kiersten Downs, that all important first dance at their wedding.

Martineau, who is paralyzed from the waist down, uses a wheelchair. But on this special night, for his bride, Martineau got up on his feet for their first dance.

Downs, who is also an Air Force veteran, said, “We had talked about how we would dance, but never really came to any conclusions about it,” I just figured we would improvise like we always do. Sometimes I sit on his lap, or we spin each other around just as I would if he was on two feet. There are lots of ways to dance in a wheelchair or with someone who uses a wheelchair.”

After the ceremony and pictures, Downs noticed her new husband had just disappeared. “I started to get nervous when we all lined up for our grand entrance,” she remembers. “Thomas was not there with me. Michelle, the wedding planner and owner of Wishing Well Barn, told Downs that her groom had to go to the bathroom and that he would meet her in the reception area. Downs just went with it and didn’t think much about it.”

Martineau had an incredible surprise for his bride. He had worked with his friends to develop a system of wires and pulleys to suspend himself from the ceiling, so that he could dance on his own two feet. Downs walked into the Plant City, Florida, barn where their wedding reception was held, and saw her new husband waiting upright to dance with her.

“He is a sneaky guy like that,” Downs admitted.

Martineau became paralyzed in a 2008 motorcycle accident. He said the plan wasn’t difficult to hide from his fiancé, as she was busy planning a wedding and working on her Ph.D. dissertation in applied anthropology.

The staff of MilitaryConnection.com wishes this happy couple the very best in life.