They exchanged vows and said, "I do." It was meant to be the most magical day of their lives. But just minutes later, an anxious Jeremy abandoned his bride at the altar. And it's since hailed him as a hero. Here's his story.
A Perfect Match
Jeremy Bourasa and Krista Boland, from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, were true couple goals. After being introduced by Jeremy’s sister-in-law in 2007, it was practically love at first sight - a fairy tale in the making.
To the naked eye, they were both selfless humans who loved to take care of their community however they could - even when it came before their own needs. Little did they know that one day this mutual character trait of theirs would be tested like never before.
Becoming a Family
The couple went on to date for six years. They had two kids together, Kaden, 8, and Knox, 2. They were the 'picture perfect' family, sharing all their happiest moments on Facebook for all their friends and family to see. From helicopter rides to birthday parties, they documented it all.
All those who knew them would never have imagined that in the future, Jeremy would be abandoning his partner when she needed him most. They were committed to each other, and it seemed nothing could get in their way. Making it legal seemed to be the only step left.
And so, after six years of dating, in July 2013, Jeremy finally proposed. Speaking to Kare 11, Krista recalled the momentous day, "he got down on one knee in the middle of the woods and popped the question." It seemed the day couldn't have gone any better.
They planned to wed straight away and were incredibly excited to make their relationship official in the eyes of the court. Inevitably, their kids were also super eager to see their parents exchange vows and could not wait to be ring bearers at the ceremony.
Welcoming New Chapters
Days later, the wedding planning began! The venue, guest list, flowers, music. There was a lot to plan. However, it almost seemed it was all becoming too much for the pair. Boland was overwhelmed with the stress of studying for nursing school as well as planning a wedding.
As her grades started slipping, she was worried her wedding would come in the way of her dream career as a nurse. In addition to all of this, things just kept getting in the way. The children needed attention, and with the sudden death of her mother, she did not have the energy or mental capacity to focus on the wedding.
The 5-Year Plan
Sure enough, the wedding planning was put on hold. “Finally, we decided to just hold off the wedding until after I finished nursing school,” Krista explained. Over the next five years, the couple focused on their individual passions while caring for their family.
Krista continued to be involved in the community, helping out whoever was in need. She was enjoying time with her friends and family and almost forgot about the wedding altogether. Jeremy, meanwhile, was working as a mortgage loan processor and was also focused on his dream to become a professional DJ.
While the couple were busy living their lives, disaster struck their family, bringing everything back down to reality and forcing them to gain a new perspective on life. They realized their careers and personal projects were important, but ultimately family was their number one priority.
Krista’s sister, Kelly O’Connor, who would eventually serve as maid of honor at the wedding, and her boyfriend, Tim Foster, tragically lost their home to a fire on Dayton Avenue in St. Paul Park in October 2015. All of the family members felt the aftermath of these tragedies.
A Second Tragedy
And if that wasn’t enough devastation for the family. Less than a year later, on June 12, 2016, Krista’s nephew and niece, Aaron, aged 11, and Kathryn, 9, died in an overnight house fire in Columbus, Ohio, while visiting their aunt. They were supposed to return home on June 11 but had decided to stay an extra day.
Again, the family was buried in grief. And so, the mourning couple decided it was time to make their wedding happen; they would not let anything else stand in their way. Life was short, and never was this more apparent to the pair than in this very moment.
A Heroic Decision
Jeremy decided he had to take action in light of these tragedies. He decided to apply to be a part-time firefighter. "It obviously rocked the family to the core," Boland recalled. "I think it had made [him] that much more passionate about saving people."
"After that happened, he said, 'Okay, yeah, I'm going do it.' Then he went down and applied." Of course, Krista was nervous about this decision; she had already lost so much to fire-related incidents. But she knew it was the right thing for him to do. She didn't want anyone to experience the pain she had been through.
A Plan Is Hatched
Finally, over the summer, Krista set aside time to plan her delayed wedding to her longtime partner. "Once I did, and with the budget we had, the cabin in Turtle Lake in Wisconsin just seemed to be perfect; it's where we got engaged," Krista recalled.
Although having the wedding at this venue would mean a reduced guest list of 100 guests due to the limited space available, the couple was extremely excited for the big day. It would be a magical day in a sentimental location. The countdown to becoming Mr. and Mrs. had begun.
More Issues Emerge
It’s any bride’s worst nightmare. Just a few weeks before the big day, a problem came up with the venue, and their event was canceled. The couple was now left with no place to hold the ceremony. “I was definitely panicking, that’s for sure,” Krista confessed to Kare 11.
What were they going to do? Was this wedding not meant to be? It's hard for a couple not to overthink when so much gets in their way. Krista and Jeremy were devastated and seemingly out of ideas. With their limited budget, it seemed the wedding would be put on hold... again.
The Lightbulb Moment
"We were trying to figure out where to have the wedding, and then Krista came up with an idea! 'Why don't you see if we could have it at the fire station?'" Jeremy recalled. He was "kind of skeptical about having it there at first because it seemed kind of cheesy."
"She definitely talked me into it," revealed Jeremy when talking to Kare 11. But Krista was sure of her idea. "What a cool spot, you know?" she explained. "Jeremy is such a dedicated firefighter, and I thought that would add to the wedding and make it more special."
St. Paul Park fire chief Kurk Lee granted his permission for the couple to use the station for the wedding. Even the photographer fell in love with the idea and creative possibilities of the venue. “This is certainly a first,” she joked. Red fire trucks and ladders are not the usual background setting for wedding photoshoots!
The fire trucks would be driven out of their bays to make space for the seats and flowers, and a DJ would play music from a laptop. A date was set. Guests were invited. The reception would be held at Willie’s Restaurant at Hidden Harbor Marina in St. Paul Park. Everything seemed to fall into place.
Troubles on the Horizon
Of course, being in a firehouse, the couple and their friends began jokingly discussing what they would do if an alarm went off during the reception. “We kept joking about it," Jeremy recalled. In reality, though, he was not scheduled to be on call that day - and there were rarely large building fires in the area.
"We actually talked about what if they were to get a call the day of the wedding ahead of time, and I told him, 'You better not even think about trying to leave to a call on our day,'" Boland confessed. "I told him, don't make me look like the bad guy, cos I would have to tell you, you cant go."
"Every time he goes out to a fire, I'm always worried. You always have that pit in your stomach," the bride-to-be confessed. And so, after everything Krista had been through leading up to this wedding, she decided to make a request when it came to their big day.
The couple decided that if he were to get a call, he'd leave it to the other firefighters. After all, there were plenty of other responders who were capable. The squad would only be one man down. "I was like, 'You can let the other guys go; you're not leaving our wedding,'" Krista recalled.
Their Wedding Day
On September 1, 2018, the special day had finally arrived - despite all the odds stacked against them. "It was absolutely perfect," recalled Krista. "Us girls got ready at my sister's house, and Jeremy and all the groomsmen and some fellow fighters were at the firehouse decorating."
Krista continued, "he actually sent one of the firefighters to pick us up, the wedding party, in a firetruck. When I arrived, I walked down the aisle to see the venue, and it was absolutely beautiful. Way more than I could have imagined." They were finally getting their happy ending.
The Calm Before The Storm
At long last, it was time for the ceremony: alongside family and friends, Krista and Jeremy exchanged their heartfelt vows. Their minister, Bourasa's friend Dustin Cortez, pronounced them man and wife as loved ones watched in excitement. After all this couple had been through, there was not a dry eye in the house.
“My brother-in-law built a wall out of old barn wood to have behind us. It was so beautiful and so special,” Krista recalled of the big day. Just as they dreamed, there were no sirens for the entire duration of the ceremony - an uneventful yet magical day. For now, at least.
Following tradition, the newlyweds went off to conduct a wedding photoshoot. “I had everyone lined up outside for the big group photo,” recalled the photographer. But it was at this very moment that things took a sharp turn. All of a sudden, a siren went off throughout the station: a nearby house was ablaze.
During an interview with People, Krista replayed the moment it all went down. “At first, I looked at him like, ‘No, don’t even think about it,’ and he wasn’t going to think about it.” Jeremy obediently agreed to stay: “She says jump, I say how high? Especially when it comes to that day,” he laughed.
Investigating the Call
"There are two types of calls," Jeremy explained. "We were waiting to find out which it was. We have an in-house alarm throughout all of Washington County. It's a certain tone that tells us if it's medical or a fire. Then we heard that they were calling for mutual aid."
"That's when you just know that they're short on men. They have guys there, but it's a very draining thing. Hoses are heavy. Tensions are high. The adrenaline rush that you get, it can be exhausting." This was a real test for Jeremy, who now had an opportunity to show his wife what she truly meant to him.
Keeping To His Promise
After tense deliberation, Jeremy decided to stay behind with his wife and continue taking the wedding photos. "I thought to myself, I'm at my wedding, I can't go anywhere," recalled Jeremy. He would leave it to the others to take care of the fire as they had planned. He was committed to his promise. Right?
The firefighters quickly assembled the equipment and prepared themselves for the challenge ahead. Krista glanced at her new husband to make sure he’d stay put. Sure enough, he stood there while his team members hurried through the firehouse. His helmet and fire gear were left untouched.
"They Really Needed Me"
After a second call came in, the tone in the firehouse took a turn for the worse. “They really needed me,” Jeremy recalled. “I could hear the panic in their voices. The fire was getting out of control.” To make matters worse, it was Labor Day weekend, so most firefighters were out of town. It was an ‘all-call’ - a plea for extra help.
"You can go in and out a couple of times, depending on your oxygen tanks," Bourasa described. "Your tanks will last maybe twenty minutes. A medic will check oxygen level and blood pressure. There might be some guys there, but they might be taken out because their blood pressure is too high to go back in."
The Ultimate Decision
Jeremy had made a commitment to the firefighter brigade. He took an oath. But he also promised his wife he wouldn't leave her. "I just looked over at Jeremy, and I could just see it in his eyes. He felt so torn thinking of his family and of the people in need of help," Krista recalled.
She realized what she needed to do. "Go ahead and go, babe. They need you," she told her husband of an hour. "I knew he needed to be there because we have family who literally lost everything from a fire. They needed him more than I did." And so, the groom put on his firefighting gear and hopped aboard the truck.
As the engine pulled out of the station, all the wedding guests gathered together to send them off. When Jeremy left in the firetruck, the wedding photographer, December Orpen, managed to capture pictures of the moment. A moment they would remember forever.
Bourasa added: “At first, getting on the truck, I was thinking about leaving my new wife on our wedding day. But on the way there, I realized that I was going into a burning house, so I wanted to be focused on that. Your gut instinct kicks into gear, and you do what you gotta do.” Meanwhile, Boland headed to the reception.
The Scene of the Fire
At the scene of the fire, Bourasa battled the flames alongside other rescuers from St. Paul Park Volunteer Fire Department. Fortunately, no lives were lost. The house, on the other hand, was fully engulfed in flames. Bourasa helped fight the blaze for two hours.
"Once it was all over, I was sitting there with my jacket off and a wet towel on my head drinking water; I was like, 'Dang, I just got married!' I got quite a few high fives from the other guys. It shows respect," recalled Jeremy. Then, his captain told him to return to his wedding. He raced back to the firehouse and cleaned up.
“That’s Why I Married Him”
Was Krista surprised by her husband's decision to leave the wedding to fight a fire? Apparently not. She knew Jeremy was incredibly dedicated to his profession, and he takes calls no matter what. "Jeremy's super, super dedicated, so he's always going to every call he can go to," she explained.
“He also works as a mortgage loan processor, so he does that full-time. But there are times when he’ll leave and go to a fire or a call. It happens at least a couple of times a month," Krista explained. “Jeremy really is amazing, and that’s why I married him. He would do anything for anyone; he truly would.”
"Everyone was completely understanding," Krista recalled. "We all took a moment to say a prayer for the safety of the firefighters and the family whose home it was." When Jeremy walked into the reception, everyone stopped what they were doing and started clapping. "It was almost a standing ovation. I was on cloud nine."
“I cried when I saw him. I was so proud of him. He would give you the shirt off his back, his last dollar. He has the kindest heart,” gushed Krista. The bride and groom took more photos and enjoyed their first dance to Stay With You by John Legend, performed by Bourasa’s brother-in-law, Ira Weatherspoon.
Cementing Their Love
Some couples may have broken up over such drama. But for Jeremy and Krista, this incident only deepened their love for each other. Jeremy explained that after seeing her reaction to his decision, he knew she was the one. “That just kind of put the icing on the cake; I know she’s the one for the rest of my life.”
Although the couple spent more hours apart on their wedding day than most couples usually do, Krista assured she couldn’t have asked for a better day - it only cemented the many reasons why Jeremy was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
The couple was so grateful for the experience that they wouldn't go back and change it even if they could! "I had an experience that no one has had," Bourasa exclaimed. "You get married at your fire hall; you get called to an active structure fire and put it out and still get to go to your reception."
"It was the perfect day for us. It ended up being so beautiful; I wouldn't change a thing," Bourasa said. "It's a day that I'll remember the rest of my life. I can't wait to tell my grandkids down the line." And Krista felt no different: "I have the rest of my life with him. They needed him for that moment. I felt so proud".
Understandably, this saga caused a huge viral moment. Everyone loved their story. Although some inevitably criticized Jeremy’s decision to leave his wife on their wedding day, most people recognized the selflessness of the act in which he put the needs of other people before his own.
As people began to post the story to their social media and continuously shared this remarkable story, the couple became an online phenomenon. Jeremy and Krista even saw their story covered by huge national television channels such as Inside Edition and Good Morning America.
Coming Full Circle
Their most memorable moment, however, had to be when they visited Steve Harvey on the set of his talk show Steve Tv Show. After recounting their wedding story with the host, Harvey refered to them as "pretty selfless human beings to give their day like that... A lot of people wouldn't do that," he praised.
Following this, Steve Harvey had a belated wedding gift for the pair. Bed, Bath, and Beyond heard about the story and wanted to help them out in return for their selfless deed. They were presented with a $2500 check to get them started on their new life!
Happily Ever After
Well, where are the two today? Based on their recent family photos, we can confidently conclude that the couple is still together! These two incredibly selfless people truly deserve each other, so we would expect no less! And it seems Jeremy and Krista's children are already following in their footsteps...
As Krista proudly revealed, her "boys want to be firefighters like their dad when they grow up." Well, it seems they are already in training as Jeremy posted this adorable photo of their six-year-old son, Knox. Safe to say, the Bourasa family's adventures are just getting started...