How many marriage proposals have you heard about that happened at a service project? Well, here is one to warm your heart.

Recently, at The “Brighten Your World” Sunshine Team Summit for the nonprofit I work for, The Outreach Program, Donald Dawes proposed to Cara LaGore.

Donald Dawes and Cara LaGore

“I chose this time because we want our marriage to be a life of service,” Donald said. “Helping people is going to be a central part of our life together.”

“I couldn’t imagine a better time for Donald to propose to me than at the Sunshine Summit,” Cara said. “Serving people and making the world a better place is part of our core values so the symbolism of a summit was the perfect place to say Yes!”

I watched Donald Dawes grow up in the tiny little Kansas town in which we both live. Through they years, I’ve seen this young boy grow into a young man and, although I didn’t know him that well, I knew of his character from his teachers and people he worked for, like Jeff Miller in North Carolina.

“Donald was such a blessing when he worked with us,” Jeff said. “He is dependable, hard working, and quick to learn. Rock steady.”

Rock steady. Coming from a guy like Jeff Miller who has seen his fair share of not-so-rock-steady workers in his career, that’s a compliment worth engraving on a plaque.

Over the course of the last year I’ve had the privilge of becoming better acquainted with Donald. He was part of our Outreach Sunshine Team for the 9/11Day events in 2018 where we packaged 1.6 million meals in four different cities all on the same day. He was part of the Los Angeles crew and I heard fantastic reports about his attitude and work ethic.

After that event, he wanted to help us with an event in Manhattan, Kansas, so he and his girlfriend, Cara LaGore, drove up from Wichita to help us. It was one of those events that required a lot more physical labor than normal and he and Cara worked extremely hard. My wife, Christine, and I, took them out for dinner afterwards and simply fell in love with both of them.

Donald at one end, Cara at the other, packaging meals for the hungry!

Their hearts to serve the disaffected is astonishing. They both met in jobs they have where they take care of people with some real challenges. Along the way, Donald decided to move into a new apartment and he called upon his friend, Cara, to help him. 

“I went to help him move in,” Cara says. “But I could tell he needed help getting the apartment set up and decorated. He kept calling and asking me to come help him with this and with that. He acted like he couldn’t decorate the place himself and I fell for it. I also fell for him.”

Although they both had strict personal rules about dating co-workers, they fell in love and decided they wanted to spend their time together serving people.

Donald and Cara will go with us to LA agains this year to package 300,000 meals on 9/11 Day to help the hungry in California, then they’ll go on to Oregon and helps us do events there.

They are building their future together on a pretty solid foundation of service to others. Their marriage is sure to be rock steady.


Please share this with others! We all need to see the huggable heroes that are in our life every day. The world is full of them if we just look!

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