Lake Mills firefighter proposes to girlfriend months after tragedy

LAKE MILLS, Wis. (WMTV) -- A Lake Mills firefighter is engaged, more than three months after a tragedy forced him to postpone his proposal.

Firefighter Andy Brinkmann knew he wanted to propose to his girlfriend in fall of 2018. On Sunday, April 7, he put his plan into action 36,000 feet in the air.

Brinkmann and his girlfriend Kassandra Fleury were on a plane to Las Vegas for a vacation, when Brinkmann got down on one knee.

"I was totally shocked, I didn't know anything about it," Fleurry said. "It was very intense and very special, and when I looked up at him and I looked over and probably 40 people had their phones out and I was just thinking, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, over and over. It was very, very exciting, very shocking and an adrenaline rush for sure."

Brinkmann planned the proposal with the flight crew and Frontier Airlines. He had the captain read a script before he popped the question.

In part, the script said, "I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone but you. At 36,000 feet on a Frontier flight or on the ground, I want to travel together for the rest of our lives."

This proposal was more than three months in the making. Brinkmann and Fleury had planned to take this trip in early January.

However, on New Year's Eve in 2018, tragedy struck. Brinkmann's close friend and colleague, Lake Mills fire captain Chris Truman was killed while helping someone on the side of the Beltline in Madison.

"It was the biggest tragedy that I can think of that’s hit this community, it’s the biggest tragedy that’s hit our department," Brinkmann said.

Brinkmann and Fleury postponed their trip to be at Truman's funeral.

Brinkmann and Truman had been friends for almost a decade, and Truman would have been in his wedding. However, Brinkmann still feels like Truman is with him.

"Every day, Captain Truman is still with us, he’ll never leave and he’ll be at the wedding. He’ll be with us in spirit," Brinkmann said.

Truman's death is still painful, but Brinkmann hopes his story is proof that happiness is possible even after a tragedy.

"I think that we’re healing as a community, as a fire department, as close friends, we are healing, and this is an example of that healing and moving forward, but not ever forgetting," he said.

Brinkmann and his fiancee are planning to get married in about two years, and Brinkmann said he knows Captain Truman will be there, along with the rest of Brinkmann's firefighter family.