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Couple wed outside Keesler shelter

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AETCNS) -- Five days after Hurricane Katrina dramatically changed many lives in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region, two Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., members began a new chapter in their own lives.

Tech. Sgt. Daniel McMullen, 335th Training Squadron, and his girlfriend of three years, LaVerne Hawkins, exchanged wedding vows Sept. 3 outside the base's Wolfe Hall, one of seven shelters used to house Keesler personnel since Hurricane Katrina struck.

Guests of the bride and groom, all Keesler members who sheltered at Wolfe Hall, dressed for the occasion in the most fashionable way. The groomsmen wore reflective safety belts while the bridesmaids wore reflective safety vests.

Sergeant McMullen wore his battle dress uniform accented by a makeshift bowtie made out of yellow caution tape while LaVerne appeared wearing a yellow dress.

A shelter manager for Wolfe Hall, Sergeant McMullen said the wedding was made even more special because the people he had been with through Hurricane Katrina were part of this special day.

"I've shared a lot with these folks over the last eight days," Sergeant McMullen said. "We all survived the storm together. This couldn't have gone any better."

Mrs. McMullen said the wedding was originally planned for Thursday, but she and Sergeant McMullen decided a few days early wouldn't make a difference.

"We had the marriage license, and we could have went to a justice of the peace, but we both figured why wait? Let's do it right now," she said.

"This was a memorable and special day for both of us," Sergeant McMullen said. "This will be a year we will never forget."

Chaplain (Capt.) Randy Sellers, 81st Training Wing, performed the ceremony that made the vows official.

"I've seen miracles happen during this storm, and now I have seen two people joined together in holy matrimony," Chaplain Sellers said. "This is a great time for these two people."

As they left the ceremony, someone congratulated the newlyweds and asked them what name they would choose if they ever have a daughter.

"Katrina, of course!" they said simultaneously.
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