- January 20, 2016
Lake Club's Kevin Swan had it all planned, or at least he thought he had.
He sat in his chair Oct. 28 at Mandeville Beer Garden in Sarasota, awaiting the Southeast High School Marching Band, which was carrying an important message for his girlfriend, Lake Club's Shaina Frisch. Kevin called it "Operation Proposal."
A steady rain had delayed the band a bit, and in the meantime, the Penn State at Ohio State college football game had begun. Shaina is a huge Ohio State fan and she came to Mandeville believing the event, which drew about 25 of their friends, was supposed to be a viewing party.
While his friends kept looking up and down Lemon Avenue for the band, Penn State put two quick touchdowns on the board against Shaina's beloved Buckeyes. Shaina's good mood might take a hit.
This wasn't exactly going to plan. Of course, Kevin, a 2000 Southeast High graduate, knows things don't always go as planned. Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive nervous system disease in 2012, he gave up his communications job and founded A Life Story Foundation. Every day he fights the disease which destroys nerve cells.
And then, the sound of drums.
Southeast's band, which accepted the assignment with less than two months to prepare, snaked down Lemon Avenue, drawing those in Mandeville outside. Shaina didn't think too much of it as the band played the Ohio State fight song, as after all, plenty of Buckeye fans were in the building.
But then, the band played Kevin's and Shaina's favorite song, "Hey Soul Sister" by Train. Something was up.
Band members flipped up a bunch of individual cards, each bearing a letter. "W-I-L-L-Y-O-U-M-A-R-R-Y-M-E-?"
Shaina began to cry. She was presented with an engagement ring, and slowly opened the case, then pressed her head about Kevin.
The answer was "Yes!"