On Saturday, the 99th Operation Playground build in Picayune, Miss. will feature something unique amid the flurry of equipment-assembly and mulch-hauling: a wedding!
Chris Utter will wed Roxie Zortman on Build Day. "They said they'd stop the build at 10 a.m. for five minutes" for the wedding, said Chris with a laugh. "We're helping build after that."
The build and the wedding are taking place behind a church: Resurrection Life Ministries, where Chris serves as maintenance director in addition to his work as a carpenter and renovator. His fiancée is an interior designer. The two, both 58, have been together since a mission trip to La Hoia, Mexico where they renovated a church together two years ago. Both are members of Resurrection Life Ministries.
The date for the wedding was chosen before the couple made the decision to wed at the build. "She chose Saturday because it's 6/7/08," said Chris. "I heard about the build, and then I went to her and said hey, KaBOOM! is doing this Build Day, and I think it would be cool if we got married out there. And she was like, ‘Yeah, that's cool!'"
They've received a variety of reactions from others when they tell them their plans. "People say, ‘Are you serious?' or ‘That's way cool!'" said Chris. "We've had a myriad of different reactions."
Chris and Roxie will be having their reception Friday night before the build. "We're having our reception, and then we're getting married afterwards," said Chris with a chuckle.
And yes, he's excited for the build, too. "It's a blessing to be able to work and build this playground for the children," he said.