A Fire Drill to Remember
On August 30 at 9:15 a.m., Stephanie Seale, a fourth grade teacher at Whitt Elementary (a Wylie ISD school, which Murphy students attend), was monitoring her students and said she was in “fire drill mode” when she saw a Wylie Fire Department truck drive up with lights and sirens activated. She wondered why a fire truck was there, a typical fire drill would not include the arrival of a fire truck. She wondered why the fire truck was from Wylie FD, when Whitt is located within Sachse and walking distance to one of the Sachse fire stations. She wondered why her boyfriend of 20-months, Rob Nishiyama was walking towards her especially since she knew that was his day off. It wasn’t until Nishiyama walked up to her and said, “I’m so nervous” did it click that this wasn’t an ordinary fire drill and her life was about to change right there in the parking lot of Whitt Elementary.
Nishiyama said he began planning the proposal three weeks prior to the big day. He met with Seale’s mother, Emily Roberts, to get her blessing. He called her father and talked to him about the upcoming proposal and he talked with Whitt Principal, Amber Teamann (Murphy resident) to see if the idea of a fire drill proposal was possible.
Nishiyama is a captain. He has been a firefighter for 20 years and with Wylie FD for seven years. He asked one of his best friends, Michael Ahlemeier, to drive him in a reserve fire truck to Whitt. Nishiyama reports that he was feeling anxious on the drive to Whitt. They arrived early so they could be ready when the students came outside and then activated the lights and sirens and parked near where Seale stood. He said, “I had an entire speech prepared. I was going to tell her how much she means to me, how she has changed my life, how I wanted her to become my fire-wife.” However, all that came out, as he shakily knelt in the beloved and traditional proposal position was, “I’m so nervous. Will you marry me?”
Teamann said, “Rob reached out to me on Facebook and said he needed to ask a huge favor.” He described how he wanted to propose and said he couldn’t imagine doing it anywhere else besides Whitt because Whitt is so important to Stephanie and he knew she would want everyone at Whitt to be a part of the moment. Teamann said, “I lectured him on how much we love her and that we want someone who will take care of her.” He stated that he would be that person to Stephanie. Teamann went through the proper channels to secure the fire drill as well as letting Sachse FD know that there would be a fire drill and that Wylie would be responding. She texted with Seale’s best friend, Jennifer Aldrich, to make sure Seale’s finger nails were perfect for the big day and to arrange getting Seale’s children to Whitt for the proposal.
Teamann said she was honored to play a small part of a memory of a lifetime. She said, “I’ve never been a part of a proposal. I’ve never seen someone’s life change in front of a lot of people. I had all the momma wolf feelings.” (Whitt’s mascot is the Wolves.) Remarking on the atmosphere after the proposal, she said, “How many kids get to watch their teacher get proposed to by a firefighter wearing a firefighter’s uniform. It was a great memory for the kids, they were so happy.” Nishiyama added that when they returned briefly to Seale’s classroom, the boys offered proposal critiques saying he should have proposed while on the top of the fire truck. Teamann had arranged for a substitute teacher to take Seale’s class for the day. The newly engaged couple spent the unexpected day off basking in the moment, which Seale describes as surreal, a fantasy land. They went to breakfast and the movies and talked to all their well-wishers.
Nishiyama said he knows Seale is the one because, “We are a lot alike. She’s the epitome of what I think is a good woman, wife and mother. I can tell she really loves me and that’s important.” Seale said she knows Nishiyama is the one because, “He loves me and my kids so well. He makes me a better person.” Nishiyama laughingly adds, “And, I can cook.”
Between the two of them, they have seven children. They have been dating since December 2016. The couple will be married on November 10, 2018.