PRC’s athletic trainer Melissa Loewen receives biggest surprise of her life on the football field

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pearl River Central High school athletic trainer Melissa Loewen received the biggest surprise of her life last Friday when her boyfriend Ryan Landry got on one knee and asked her to marry him just before the game against Gautier.

Landry told Loewen numerous times that he was planning to ask her to marry him during Christmas because that’s when her parents would be in town. In response, Loewen said to him that knowing when his proposal would occur would ruin the surprise.

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“I got the idea of proposing to her during Christmas time in her head but I knew that I wanted to do it before the end of football season,” Landry said. “It was the last home game of the season and it was senior night, so I figured that was the perfect opportunity.”

In order to set it up, Landry shared his idea with the Blue Devils Touchdown Club, coaches and players. After hearing of his plan, everyone loved it so much, they pitched in to help complete necessary steps with the school district.

The plan started early in the week, when Loewen got a notice from one of the team’s coaches that she would be recognized before the game for her job as the school’s first athletic trainer. She was not looking forward to it.

“I did not want to stand in front of everyone and be in the spotlight,” Loewen said. “I tried everything to get out of it, I told them that there was no need for them to recognize me for my work and to just let me stay in the sidelines.”

A week before the proposal, Landry took Loewen shopping for a ring so he’d know just the ring to buy. During that shopping trip, he continued his ruse by telling the sales people in the store he would need the ring by Christmas. Two days later, Landry went back to the store and told them he needed the ring in five days.

Two hours before the game started, Landry called Loewen and told her that something had come up at work and he would arrive late to the game, which made her even more hesitant to stand in front of everyone in attendance.

Landry’s plan also included flying Loewen’s parents in from Oklahoma that Friday morning and spent the entire day with them, whom Loewen hadn’t seen in months.

As Loewen’s “recognition ceremony” began, three football players dressed in full gear including helmets, made their way to the 50-yard line and one of them handed her a bouquet of flowers.

“I handed her the flowers and she looked at me but didn’t recognize me,” Landry said. “Seconds later, I said ‘hey babe’ and she completely freaked out when she realized I was out on the field. I took off my helmet and got on one knee and asked her to marry me and then I told her to look at the stands and pointed at her parents, which made her freak out even more.”

Many people helped set up the surprise proposal.

“I had no clue this was going to happen,” Loewen said. “Coaches, kids, and many other people knew that this was going to take place. I can’t believe that everyone did a great job at keeping it a secret. I was blown away with the entire situation.”

Loewen met Landry through her college roommate and recently moved to the Pearl River County community when she started her job with the high school as an athletic trainer.

“The fact that she picked up everything and moved to a new community was something special on its own,” Landry said. “At the end, I just wanted to do something that would surprise her, shock her and would make her happy.”