Where was the fire? In their eyes -- Gazette.Net


A smoldering romance became fully involved last month, when a Kensington volunteer firefighter proposed to his girlfriend, a paramedic with the department, atop the department’s aerial tower.

Master firefighter Greg Graves, 31, had been dating Avital Cooperman, 27, since October 2012. Graves said he had been planning to propose since December.

“My original plan was to do it on Valentine’s Day, but she was figuring it out,” he said. “It was sort of a spur of the moment decision.”

He popped the question Feb. 12, and Lt. Rob King, who arranged the event, worked on short notice.

“I first knew about it at 6 p.m. and it occurred around 10 p.m.,” King said.

After talking with Graves, King said he and the other firefighters returned to “carrying on with normal business,” holding a monthly company meeting and even leaving briefly on an emergency call.

Cooperman had become a member of the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department that day and attended the meeting.

“It was a little tough to get her to stick around when we had to go on the emergency call,” King said. “It was also difficult to convince her to go up on the ladder,” as “it was a windy, chilly night.” About a dozen firefighters stuck around to watch Graves’ proposal.

Graves and Cooperman were elevated 100 feet in the air for about five to 10 minutes, according to King. From there they could see the National Cathedral and Washington Monument.

But Cooperman was not suspicious. King attached a camera to the bucket and although she noticed it, he said it still did not give away the surprise.

“It was a great success. She was very surprised. She cried a little bit and she said, ‘Of course,’” Graves said.

“It was successful,” King agreed. “We couldn’t hear what they were saying until she leaned over to speak into the intercom. She said, ‘I’m getting married.’”

The couple, who lives in Germantown, plan to wed in spring or summer 2015. According to department resident Steven Semler, Grave and Cooperman are not the only betrothed couple at the station: volunteer John Lunzer and emergency medical technician Sara Sye are tying the knot in June.