Our story. My name is Ashley Karella and I am proud to represent my husband Sgt. Joshua Karella. Josh and I started dating around April of 2004. April 12th to be exact. We met through work, I worked at a physical therapy clinic and he worked right across the hallway at the clinic that referred a lot of our patients to us. We went on our first date, which I didn't even realize was a date until halfway through the meal. I thought we were just getting a bite to eat together after work and realized halfway through that there was some definite chemistry. To be honest I didn't even know he was in the Army until about 3wks into our relationship when one day he said he had to report to the base. I asked him why and that's when he told me. Josh is part of the 1984th Army Reserve unit stationed out of Fort Wainright, Alaska.
We moved in together and everything was going great until I picked him up from work one day and he asked me to park the car because he had something to tell me. He told me that he had been deployed to Iraq but he wasn't sure if it was a mandatory of a voluntary deployment. He told me that he loved me like he had so many times before that and that he wouldn't go if it was voluntary. All I could think about was that I didn't want to be without him. There was no doubt in my mind that we would stay together, I just didn't want him to go. His deployment turned out to be mandatory and he left for training in Hawaii and Texas on August 15, 2004. He called every day and wrote me letters which I in turn wrote him back. I moved us into a new apartment and continued working two jobs to keep myself busy. I went to the gym a lot and found a lot of support in his family since he comes from a family with a military background.
Josh was scheduled to come home on Decmeber 19th for a 2 week Christmas leave. We were planning a lot of things to do while he was home. On December 17th, which was a Sunday, I went to church and then out to breakfast with his family. Josh's cousin was also stationed in Iraq and he had already come home for his leave a few days earlier. Later on that evening I went to a movie with a few of the female members of Josh's family and about 15 minutes until the movie ended I received a phone call from him. He had called my cell phone using the calling card so when the number came up I thought nothing of it. We were having a good conversation-of course I was trying to be quiet since I was in the theater, but he kept asking me if the movie was over yet. Finally it was and we all left. I rode with his mom back to my apartment and as we walked inside there were rose pedals on the stairs leading up. I was still on the phone with him and I asked his mom what they were for. Realizing that they were for me I went running up the stairs not even realizing he wasn't talking to me anymore and I burst open our apartment door. Inside there were lit tealight candles and rose pedals everywhere. I was frantically looking around and when I saw his dad in the kitchen I jumped and scared him and asked, "where is he, where is he?" As I asked I turned my head to see him walking out of our bedroom in his DCU's still holding the phone to his ear. I ran to him and breathed him in and held him so tightly. He asked me to take my coat off since I was stil wearing my winter jacket and as I unzipped it my hands were shaking and my fingers were numb. He was laughing and smiling and his dad was taking pictures. He smelled like a mix of sweat and soap. He had taken a shower but put his uniform back on so that I could see him in it, and I have never nor will I ever see a man that looked sexier in a uniform.
Josh proposed to me on Christmas eve. He planned an elaborate video set to music and pictures of me and of the two of us together. It was beautiful and I still didn't know it was a proposal until at the end of the video the screen showed the words, "Ashley, I have a question for you." I looked over at him and asked," What?" He told me to stand up and as I did he stayed on his knee. He asked me to marry him in front of about 50 members of his family-who were all dead silent (which is not an easy feat to accomplish) and of course I said yes. His father officiated our wedding on New Year's Eve and I wore his aunt's wedding dress. It was beautiful and we are so in love. We are also going to have a big wedding next summer so that more family can attend and so that we can be married in our church.
Josh left on January 2, 2005 for his tour in Iraq. He is a medic and he is doing God's will saving lives and teaching that Iraqi army what he does best. We are about half way through his deployment - about 7 more months to go. I can't wait until I can hold him in my arms again but I know that he is doing our country proud and helping ensure the safety of our future generations. I am proud of my soldier, proud of my husband, and I can't wait for his safe return.