JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Pfc. Reely Daugherty is surprised Sunday by his fiancee, Haley Wilson, at a service for Destination Church.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS – With “do for one” as their motto, Destination Church reached out to the community last week, aiming to do something big for a few special people what they wish they could do for everyone.
One of those people was Pfc. Reely Daugherty, an 18-year-old Marine training at Fort Lee.
On Sunday, he received a special Easter gift when the church had his fiancée, Haley Wilson, flown in from California to spend a little more time with him before he ships out overseas for six months.
Daugherty is from California and has no family here.
In a special service that packed two theaters at Southpark Mall on Sunday morning, Lead Pastor Bryan Briggs and Associate Pastor John Calhoun prayed over Daugherty. Briggs then handed Daugherty some flowers to give to his fiancée the next time he saw her. Daugherty replied “yes sir,” and Riggs told him to go back to his seat. Once Daugherty turned around, he looked up and his fiancée was standing right in front of him.
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Haley Wilson, right, prepares to surprise her fiance, Pfc. Reely Daugherty, at a service for Destination Church in Colonial Heights.
“Feeling very surprised, I didn’t think it was really her,” Daugherty said later.
Wilson told reporters how she felt to be able to surprise him before he deploys, “It’s awesome. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Briggs said it was hard to keep everything a secret.
“They almost ran into each other at Best Buy,” he said.
Daugherty first met his fiancée in the sixth grade, but it was not love at first sight. A few years went by and after crossing paths a few times, the two developed a strong friendship. While he was in boot camp he grew the courage to ask her out.
Lead Pastor Bryan Briggs speaks after the surprise during the service.
The couple planned to marry in September this year, but due to Daugherty’s deployment approaching, the couple now plans to get married May 8. He plans on taking courses at a college in California to become a youth pastor after completing his military service.
“It’s a really good doorway for me and to fulfill my calling in life to become a Pastor and have good benefits all at once,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty first noticed the church one day in October going to the movies and the name “Destination Church” caught his attention. He fell in love with the church and befriended Briggs.
The first time he met the pastor, they went to lunch. That same week the church reached out to Daugherty’s dad to make a video for his son.
The church is only two years old but has grown fast, and so has their charitable contributions.
Demetric Phillips sings during the service.
Last weekend, the church gave away around $40,000 it collected it six days. It collected 3,000 pounds of food and has been helping out at area nonprofits, including the James House.
On Sunday, the church gave away gift cards to a new visitor, items for a woman expecting twins, Police Sgt. Rob Ruxer and two teachers, Chris and Toni Martin.
Riggs also said the church paid to get someone into drug rehab.