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Paraplegic husband gives the best wedding present to wife

In 2012, Sgt. Joe Johnson met Michelle Johnson at a Miranda Lambert concert shortly after his stint in Afghanistan. They both shared the same last name and the same birthday. As Michelle puts it, they were “soul mates,” and were destined to end up together.

But since his return home from his tour, he was dealing with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So, he took up riding motorcycles for the rush. But just four months after he met Michelle, he was in a motorcycle accident that caused a spinal cord injury which rendered him paralyzed from chest down. He has been in a wheelchair since.

joe and michelle johnson

Joe Johnson and Michelle Johnson

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But Michelle never left his side; she stuck by his side through thick and thin. Despite the adjustments and the physical demands that Joe faces due to his paralysis, Michelle said, “We knew we were meant to be.” And in April 2013, Joe popped the question, to which Michelle said, ‘Yes.’

The happy couple wed on June 28th of the following year, the day before they both celebrated their mutual birthday. Michelle, a wedding planner by profession, planned her wedding to the last detail. But one very big aspect of the wedding didn’t even occur to her to think about – the first dance at the reception.

joe johnson's groomsmen and friends helping him into the harness

Joe Johnson’s groomsmen and friends helping him into the harness

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Since Joe was confined to the wheelchair, she didn’t expect to dance with him. But Joe, with his friends’ and groomsmen’s help, had created a harness that would allow him to stand and be at eye level with his wife for their first dance. The harness was suspended from the ceiling above the dance floor, allowing Joe to stand up without someone holding him up.

And to pull off the surprise without a hitch, Michelle’s mom and mom-in-law convinced her to go back to the bridal suite for a while after the cake was cut. When she returned to the reception, Joe, her husband was standing, waiting for her.

joe standing on his own, hugging michelle, with the help of the harness

Joe standing on his own, hugging Michelle, with the help of the harness

Image source

Jennifer Davis, the LinneaLiz photographer who took photos of the dance, said that Michelle couldn’t believe what she saw. She recalled, “When Michelle walked in, the whole room was quiet, she had no idea what was going on. She saw Joey standing and she had a giant smile on her face which quickly turned to tears. Everyone was in tears.”

Jennifer added, “Joey had been planning the dance for months and having his military groomsmen literally supporting him added even more to the emotion in the room. The dance was a beautiful moment to not only capture but to experience.”

A very emotional husband and wife stood moving to the music of ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri, a very fitting song indeed. And Michelle couldn’t have asked for a better wedding present!

Watch the video here:

Although the wedding happened earlier this year in June, the video gained many views around Veteran’s Day celebrations in the US.

Here’s wishing the newlyweds a very happy married life ahead!

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Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg