NIAGARA FALLS N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s a 4th of July one veteran and his now-fiancé will never forget.
A war hero popped the big question in Niagara Falls this Independence Day weekend.
“You know it’s been a long time coming and you know it just felt so good, it felt right,” Veteran Tommy Rieman said.
Rieman is a certified American hero. He’s a recipient of the silver star and purple heart for his time serving in Iraq. He’s known for having taken fire and shielding a fellow soldier. His story is even featured in a war documentary called Halfway Home. This weekend, he had a different kind of mission.
He told Olson they were going to Niagara Falls to meet up with a few members of Bills Mafia, at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, .a yearly tradition.
“I had no idea, I thought we were there to see some of the players,” Olson said.
Rieman and Olson have kids from previous relationships and Rieman wanted to make sure they were in on the surprise.
“The kids had signs saying will you please be my step-mom? Will you be my step-dad? When she was surprised, I dropped down on one knee and made her mine,” he said.
After four years of dating the pair is now engaged. It hasn’t been an easy road for these two. Most of their relationship has been long-distance.
“We’ve just been there for each other. We’ve been best friends. I live in North Carolina, she lives here,” Rieman said. “It’s complex, messy, but its ours.”
He says Olson gets him through any challenge he faces being a veteran.
“Like any good team, the yin and the yang, when you’re feeling good, you’re there to pull the other and she’s been that for me,” Rieman said. “Any of the hard times, the difficult times, she’s always there.”
“I think we both help each other,” Olson said. “It’s difficult. It’s not easy.”
Rieman says he chose to Niagara Falls because of all the positive memories he’s made there, and he can add one more.
“Annually I come up here to support Niagara [Falls]. I’ve grown so many good friendships and relationships and everybody that I’ve known from here has stayed in touch over the years,” he said. “I feel closer to Niagara than my hometown.”
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.