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Capt. Steve Walters gets an escort from Legion Riders to wedding reception

Army Capt. Steve Walters received the hero’s welcome home he deserved Sunday, with his blushing bride at his side.

The 25-year-veteran, who served multiple combat tours during the first Gulf War, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, was escorted with wife, Michele, on their wedding day on Sunday by his fellow members of the American Legion Riders Post 234. Walters is set to retire from the army next year.

The large procession into the parking lot of Family Heritage Restaurant in Franconia for the wedding reception was quite a memorable site. Members of the Telford and Souderton Fire Companies parked two fire trucks facing each other and used the trucks’ ladders to hang a 30 by 40 foot American flag into the air, in order for the procession of motorcycles and cars to travel underneath. A band of bikers then pulled into the lot, playing patriotic music, followed by the newlyweds inside their purple Dodge Challenger, a few more bikers and the rest of the wedding party bringing up the rear.

“I’ll tell you what,” the 45-year-old Walters began, after the procession ended, “what our local fire fighters, what our Legion Riders have done here, the support that we have gotten has been absolutely amazing. We could not ask for a better day all the way around.”


The couple, who’ve been together for almost five years said this was an incredible way to celebrate one of the most important dates in their lives.

“I had no idea,” Michele said. “So I got a little teary eyed because it’s very awesome to see our flag anywhere, but that size on our special day is just awesome.”

While Walters admitted to helping plan the escort with the Legion Riders, he didn’t expect the overwhelming show of support they received.

“I had asked for a four to six man detail,” Walters said. “We had 60 riders. It was absolutely amazing. And their chief, they said to us, ‘we have something a little extra planned for you.’ So what we have here is that something little extra with this tremendous flag and all the support you could ever ask for.”

American Legion Rider member Nancy Buck, who helped organize the event, said the escort was about celebrating the special day and honoring Walters for his service.

“That’s his career. He’s military. He’s been awarded the silver star,” she said. “And he’s been with this woman for a long time and they finally got married. And he is a member of our post, so we’re definitely going to honor him. That’s why we did this.”

Walter said his service began during Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm in 1991 before beginning tours again in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

“I went back again in ‘06/’07 for another tour in Iraq,” he said. “And then went back again for another tour in 2009/2010. I [went to] Afghanistan in 2011/2012 and for the majority of 2013 for another tour. This is what we do. I’m proud to serve. As you can see the support that we have not just from my fellow service members, but from the community all around us, many of these guys are veterans and I don’t think we show them enough appreciation. They’re around us everyday. They don’t ask for much, just a shake and a thank you.”

Hopefully he got the send-off he deserved.


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04:43 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Wedding day horror: Groom kills bride and then himself

It was supposed to be the couple’s happiest day: Kelly Ecker, a nurse, and Dr. George Scott Samson married Saturday afternoon in Terre Haute, Indiana.

By their wedding night, both were dead.

Samson, an anesthesiologist at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, shot his bride and then himself in their home just hours after they exchanged vows, authorities said.

Some wedding guests noticed tension between the couple almost immediately after each said “I do,” said Vigo County Sheriff Chief Deputy Clark Cottom.

“Some guests are telling us the bride and groom didn’t speak to each other at the reception,” he said.

After the reception, the couple hosted members of the bridal party at their home outside Terre Haute, Cottom said.


Not long after the last guest left, the county dispatch center received a 911 call, according to a transcript and tape provided by authorities.

The 911 calls

The first call was made at 1:25 a.m.

The caller, said to be Kelly, is only able to give an address, then the call cuts off.

In a second call made a minute later, the caller says, “he is beating the s*** out of me” and then says “he has guns” and identifies Scott Samson by name.

By the third call, at 1:27 a.m., Cottom said it’s clear the situation has escalated because the caller’s voice is in more distress. She says “oh my God!” and then gunshots are heard.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they were met at the door by an elderly male relative of Samson’s, authorities said.

“He directed the deputies to the bedroom where they found Kelly’s body,” said Cottom.

She had been shot multiple times, he said.

Robot finds Samson

In addition to the male, two other individuals were found in the home: Ecker’s 10-year old-son was in the bedroom where his mother’s body was found, and he was unharmed, Cottom said.

An elderly female relative was in the home at the time of the shootings, and she also was unharmed, authorities said.

Samson was still inside when deputies arrived, so they made it a priority to get those three individuals out of the home and to safety immediately, Cottom said.

The elderly male witness told police that Samson had run from the bedroom to another part of the house to get more ammunition, and then ran to the basement, authorities said.

Deputies surrounded the home immediately.

“The house is near a wooded area and a cornfield and we didn’t want an armed man running deep into the woods,” Cottom said.

A special response team used a robotic device equipped with a camera to gain entry into the home, he said.

When it located Samson in the basement, it was apparent what had happened.

“Samson was unresponsive. We saw a bullet wound,” Cottom said.

Samson’s body was found near his gun safe where he had earlier removed other weapons, said Cottom. Samson was a gun enthusiast who had a federal firearms license, Cottom said.

This week, deputies were still taking inventory of the weapons inside the home. Cottom said several dozen of them had been removed.


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04:38 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


St Andrew's to defy ban on conducting gay weddings

A Wellington church says a national directive from its highest body banning ministers from conducting same-sex marriages is appalling and disturbing and it will defy the order.

St Andrew's on The Terrace opposes the decision by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The General Assembly - which sets the policy and the direction of the church and approves the various regulations - spent the past four days deliberating in Auckland and announced its decision yesterday.

In the eyes of the assembly, it was acceptable for gay and lesbian people to be in the congregation but not to be married by the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Marriage was the loving and faithful union of a man and a woman, the assembly said.

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St Andrew's Parish convener Sonia Groes-Petrie said the ban was disturbing and deeply disappointing.

"We strongly dissent from it," she said. "The Presbyterian tradition is for ministers to have freedom to make decisions about whom they will marry.

"There is a range of opinions on same-sex marriage within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and today's decision does not reflect that diversity."

Interim minister Jim Cunningham said he was appalled by the decision. "We see sexual orientation and gender identity as irrelevant in the celebration of a couple's union. It is the quality of the relationship, the love and commitment that matters," he said.

"St Andrew's has been blessing the relationships of same- sex couples for over 20 years, celebrating civil unions since 2005 and marriages since August last year."

St Andrew's Parish councillor and General Assembly representative Paul Barber, who was in Auckland, said it was embarrassing that religious organisations were the only stumbling block to full equality for same-sex couples.

Despite the order, St Andrew's had committed to be an inclusive church, faithful to the gospel message of love and justice, Barber said.

"We have ministers within our community who are registered as civil celebrants and we will continue to be able to provide a welcoming place for any couple who wishes to marry," he said.

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand General Assembly Moderator the Right Rev Andrew Norton said the decision was an affirmation of the church's long-held understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman. No other type of contractual, covenantal or legal sexual relationship - no matter how loving, stable or sincere - could ever be regarded by the Christian church as marriage in the true biblical sense.

No immediate action would be taken against St Andrew's but if there was a complaint it would step in.

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05:13 Publié dans wedding | Tags : weddings | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)