“This has been such a meaningful undertaking for our team- and we never imagined that this ‘small’ military giveaway would grow to this magnitude.” - Peter Stavrianidis, owner of Venus Jewelers.
Somerset, NJ (PRWEB) December 18, 2012
Venus Jewelers proudly named the winning military couple of its Operation: Tie the Knot dream-wedding giveaway, valued at over $80,000. Venus Jewelers partnered with local businesses and the charitable organization Operation Jersey Cares to give away a beautiful designer diamond engagement ring and ultimate dream wedding package, to the lucky couple with the most “likes” on Venus Jeweler’s Facebook page.
Army soldier SPC Derek McConnell 23, and his high school sweetheart, Krystina Dressler, 21, have been a couple for six years. McConnell will soon be able to present his love with a $12,000 E color VSI Gemological Institute of America certified diamond in a 14kt white gold Lieberfarb diamond setting. The pair won the giveaway with 3,115 votes.
“I don’t know how I could ever repay her [Dressler] for saving my life-,” said McConnell. “The closest I can come is giving her a dream wedding.”
In 2011, while deployed in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, McConnell stepped on two IED blasts while trying to save another soldier’s life. Shortly after, Dressler received a call that would change her life forever: Derek had been injured and had to have both his legs amputated.
As soon as McConnell arrived in the United States, Dressler was at his side while he spent 53 days in the ICU and then eight months as an inpatient. McConnell’s injuries are numerous and he almost died many times from sepsis and numerous infections. “He still came back to me,” said Dressler. “I have been with Derek since the day he arrived, and never once planned on leaving him. At just 19, I have been through so much with him. We go to his appointments together, we celebrate his milestones together, I calm him down when he has his panic attacks; we are each other’s rock. I believe we are more in love now than we ever have been. All we both want is to be married. This is one wish that completes our happy ending.”
Due to the overwhelming response from the community and vendors hoping to participate in the contest, Venus Jewelers has been able to secure prize packages for the second and third place couples as well as Titanium His and Hers Wedding Bands, courtesy of Quality Gold for the seven remaining finalists.
“This has been such a meaningful undertaking for our team- and we never imagined that this ‘small’ military giveaway would grow to this magnitude,” said Peter Stavrianidis, owner of Venus Jewelers. “Our aim is to bring awareness to the sacrifices that our men and women make to keep their love and families strong despite the long distances and unforeseeable challenges that arise when serving our county.”
Scott Hakim, a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, and Emma Valenti came in second place. Hakim served for four years with 1st Batallian 2nd Marine Corps Division and was deployed to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, Hakim was wounded by an IED blast and received a Purple Heart. This deserving couple will receive a prize package valued at $4,850.00, that includes a photography package from Marc Anthony Photography, His and Hers 14k white gold matching wedding bands, courtesy of Stuller, Inc., and His and Hers Victorinox Swiss Army Watches.
In third place are Marcella Botero and Adrian Yanez, a Sergeant in the 42nd RSG, 508th MP Co. Yanez was deployed to Iraq in 2008 and is now stationed at Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan. Two weeks after getting deployed, the couple learned they are expecting their first child. Governor Chris Christie has signed legislature that would allow for the couple to be the first in New Jersey to be wed by proxy, so that Yanez will be able to come home to meet his newborn baby. “As difficult as it is to be apart at such an important time, we know that our baby is the biggest blessing of our lives,” said Botero. “Everyday is a day closer to being together again and meeting our baby.” Their prize package is valued at $1,950.00 and includes His and Hers 14k white gold matching wedding bands courtesy of Stuller, Inc. and His and Hers Victorinox Swiss Army Watches.
As winners of the Operation: Tie the Knot dream wedding giveaway, McConnell and Dressler will enjoy a wedding to remember held at Nanina’s in the Park, Belleville/The Park Savoy, Florham Park. Extensive cinematography services will be provided by Nino Gallego Studios, Eatontown. Vali Entertainment, Norwood, will provide first class musical entertainment. Flower Station, Somerset, will provide a beautiful floral package. Generous photography services will be rendered by Erin H. Photography, Asbury Park. Lieberfarb Wedding Bands, is gifting the engagement ring setting and wedding bands. The bride and groom will receive his and hers watches courtesy of Movado. The bride will receive a wedding dress courtesy of L’Fay Bridal, Chatham. Guests will enjoy a wedding cake from Chamber's Walk Café and Catering, Lawrenceville. The happy couple will enjoy dance lessons from Fred Astaire, Princeton.
About Venus Jewelers
Venus Jewelers is a fourth generation family owned business that has been in operation for thirty-three years at its present location in Somerset, New Jersey. Venus is known for its custom-design work, repair services and as direct diamond importers. Voted 2012 Central New Jersey’s "Best of the Best" by the Readers Choice Contest hosted by the Home News Tribune.
For Venus Jewelers' store hours and directions, please visit http://www.lieberfarb.com/blog/venus-jewelers-somerset-new-jersey/.