This story appeared in the July 13, 2006 edition of the Cannon Falls Beacon.
By all accounts, Cannon Falls' 2006 July 4 parade was one of the best. For the crowd seated in front of Park Street Apartments, a special surprise helped make the event even better. Trail manager Scott Roepke brought the parade to a halt so he could propose to his girlfriend, Debbie Lund.
Roepke has managed the Cannon Valley Trail since September 1999. He met Debbie about two years ago through friends Mark and Mary Ann Maneval, who he met because Mary Ann is the daughter of Bruce Johnson, who sold Scott his home in Cannon Falls-after a lengthy search.
Scott and Debbie officially began dating about a year ago, Roepke said, and he realized this past April that he wanted marriage to be in their future.
On June 20, the day after he returned from an annual trip to the Boundary Waters, Scott headed to the Twin Cities to pick out a ring. He had also been shopping for tires for his truck, so he told Debbie that was where he was going.
As he drove along Co. Rd. 42, Scott received a phone call from his brother, and discovered that his brother was also driving on Co. Rd. 42, only two blocks behind Scott. To avoid explaining to his brother why he was in Apple Valley, Scott also told him he was shopping for tires.
Once the ring had been purchased, Scott began looking for ideas on when and where to propose. He finally decided to pop the question at his home on Debbie's birthday, July 13.
On the morning of July 4, Scott was at home when he received a call from longtime friends Ken and Kari Stewart. "Why not ask her during the parade?" Kari asked. Scott quickly agreed, but Debbie was at the house. Finally, he told her had work at the office and left.
After deciding that he needed a sign, he eventually placed it on the flip-side of the trail banner. One on side it read: "Since 1986," and on the other side, "Marry me, Deb?"
As he entered the second block of the parade route, Scott searched the crowd for Debbie. He didn't find her at first, and was becoming concerned. "Finally, I spotted her."
Scott walked up to Debbie, but attempted to stall while Ken and Kari flipped the sign. Ultimately, he grabbed her and dropped to one knee for the proposal. "I didn't really hear a 'yes,'" Scott recalled, "but she gave me a big huge and a kiss."
Scott had turned to rejoin the parade when a lady in the crowd yelled: "Put the ring on her finger!"
With shaking hands, he pulled the ring from his pocket, turned, and placed it on Debbie's finger.