Speck’s love sails overseas

by Kristy Raymond

Feeling that “special something” for someone you never thought you would can be frightening. Maybe it’s the boy who always used to pull your hair, the girl you had walked home with for years, or even the person everyone always said you’d end up with.

For Simpson sophomore Amber (Homiak) Speck, it was her best friend.

“It really freaked me out that I found him attractive, and thought of him as more than just a friend, because he was like my brother,” Speck said.

After mustering up her courage, Amber decided to declare her love for her best friend, Tyler Speck, the night of their last high school choir concert together. When she walked into the practice room, Tyler was waiting with a dozen red roses, intending also to surprise her with his feelings.

On their two year anniversary, May 12, 2002, Tyler proposed marriage. Later that month he joined the marines.

“We talked about it and how it would affect our lives independently as well as together. He’s wanted to be a marine since he was five, and I didn’t feel it was my right to tell him he couldn’t live out his dream,” Amber said..

Amber and Tyler were reunited at his boot camp graduation and spent ten days together before he left for six weeks of infantry training.

Being apart and alone this Thanksgiving was almost too much for the couple. They decided that they had to be together and set an Aug. 9 date for their wedding.

In January the Marines informed Tyler that he would be sent overseas shortly after his graduation.

“I needed to become his first of kin so I would be told where he was. We wanted to be united under God as one, and we wanted our rings to show true commitment for life so we decided to get married sooner than August,” Amber said.

On Jan. 15, Amber informed her mother that she was going to go marry the man she loved. With her mother’s full support, she boarded a plane and flew to San Diego.

Saturday morning Amber surprised Tyler with a phone call. The two met and over breakfast decided to marry the very next day.

When walking through a flea market later that day, they bought a $5, blue and purple bouquet of orchids for the wedding. That night Amber borrowed a dress from her cousin’s girlfriend that matched the flower’s vibrant colors perfectly.

A small caravan of family members traveled to Sunset Cliff, south of a harbor, just off of the Atlantic Ocean. The blue skies, sunshine, and 80 degree Fahrenheit temperature were the perfect setting for the short ceremony.

The Marines put Tyler on 24 hour alert, and just two days after they were married, he phoned his bride to tell her the news.

“We only got to talk for two minutes. We just prayed, said I love you, and goodbye,” Amber said.

The next night another phone call came. He told her he was in Maine, was to fly to France, and then stay in Kuwait.

There won’t be any visits, phone calls, or emails. They will be able to exchange letters, but it takes three weeks to receive them.

How does the new bride get through it?

“I don’t think I’d be able to go on if it were not for my faith,” Amber said.

Not focusing on being alone for this Valentine’s Day, she is optimistic about the future.

“I don’t care what we do, I just want us to be together,” Amber said.

Tyler will be in Kuwait for four months to a year.

In the meantime his wife will be waiting, praying and hoping for a safe return.