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Phantom Blooper
11-21-08, 08:53 PM
Billboard proposal lands a yes

November 21, 2008 - 7:40 PM
MOLLY K. DEWITT (mdewitt@freedomenc.com)

<!-- Video goes here -->She wanted a public proposal, and that's what she got.
Jason Grey proposed to his sweetheart of two years, Leslie Jennings, on Nov. 13 with a billboard at the intersection of N.C. 24 and N.C. 172 that read "We May Not Be In Italy, But It's A Perfect Sapphire. Leslie Will You Marry Me?"
"When I said public I thought dinner, or in front of my parents," Jennings said.
Still, she said yes to Grey, a sergeant in the Marine Corps who planned the whole thing while he was away on training in California for a month.
Initially the couple had planned to travel to Italy where Grey considered proposing, but plans fell through so he had to come up with a new idea.
"Well, she said that it had to be public and memorable," he said.
After searching the Internet for a billboard company, Grey came across Fairway Outdoor Advertising and got in touch with account executive Angie Cooper who got the ball rolling.
"We normally only sell our billboards on a monthly basis, but I knew that rate would be quite steep and I really wanted to help Jason out. My heart went out to him," Cooper said. "So, not to compromise the integrity of my rate, I decided to sell him the billboard for two weeks, something we usually don't do and then it was more affordable for him."
Cooper and Grey e-mailed back and forth about the billboard's creation while he was out of town and by the time he arrived back in North Carolina, everything was done.
"We never met until (Friday). We've never actually talked until (Friday)," Cooper said.
After Grey gave Cooper an idea of what he wanted, she sent the information to her artist and told him to "put his romantic hat on."
"It was just kind of neat to do something so touching," Cooper said.
Grey's plans to propose on the 12th were halted after he realized he had overnight duty. Luckily he was allowed to leave work a little bit early on the 13th and the proposal came together as planned.
Grey drove Jennings to the sign, making her keep her eyes closed during the trip. He said he was worried she might get car sick as she has a tendency to do. Once they reached the sign, he made her walk to it with her eyes closed, he got down on one knee and the rest, as they say, is history.
Grey proposed with an engagement ring he and Jennings chose together, a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. The sapphire is considered perfect because it has not been treated with anything; it was only cut into its shape.
"It all came together pretty easy," Grey said.
The couple enjoyed an engagement dinner at Floyd's 1921 restaurant in Morehead City following the proposal.
"My family thinks it's great ... they're really excited about it," Jennings said.
The couple plans to wed in Gatlinburg, Tenn. on February 3.

Contact Jacksonville/Onslow government reporter Molly DeWitt 910-219-8455 or mdewitt@freedomenc.com.

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