Army soldiers wed on 11-11-11

Contest winners celebrate free wedding with family and friends

While many people believe 11-11-11 is a lucky day, Cathrine and John Schmanski are two active duty Army soldiers who know that to be a fact. As winners of the Brecknock Veterans Day Wedding Giveback, the couple celebrated their nuptials surrounded by family and friends at the historic Brecknock Hall in Greenport on Veterans Day. The contest, established by the lifecare retirement community Peconic Landing to recognize and thank active duty military personnel and veterans, offered Brecknock as free wedding venue to the winners. Soon, an outpouring of support from 20 sponsors added a long list of complimentary services and products to the list. "This initiative has been such a joyful one for Peconic Landing," said the community's President/ CEO Robert J. Syron. "This wedding was tremendously meaningful because many of our residents are veterans, and giving back is a priority to us. We're thrilled by the generosity of so many, and grateful that we could honor those who serve our country in such a meaningful way."

In July, a committee that included six veterans living at Peconic Landing reviewed a stack of applications to select one couple to receive a free wedding at Brecknock. John {of Riverhead, NY} and Cat {of Killingly, Connecticut} were the unanimous winners. The couple fell in love at a U.S. Army base in Vilseck, Germany in 2009. They said "I do," in May 2010 so they would be married before their deployment to Afghanistan. Prior to being stationed together in Georgia this September, the couple saw each other only four times in two years.

For more information and a full list of participating sponsors, visit