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2021 Winners – Mason + Sarah

March 22, 2021
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Right out of high school, at only 19 years old, Mason was hired on with Bryan Fire Department as a firefighter/paramedic. Being a firefighter/paramedic is something Mason had dreamed of since he was a little boy and it became a reality in December 2015. He was born and raised in Bryan and this is where his family has called home for generations back, which only makes him love being a first responder in this community even more. Having the opportunity to serve in his hometown is truly something he feels is a privilege and the heart he has for his job does not ever go unnoticed. In February 2020, he was honored with a special award that reflected just that! A local radio station recognized Mason as “The Most Outstanding Firefighter of Brazos County” after he received the most votes from people living right here in this community. As an ER/trauma nurse at St. Joseph, I see Mason often while he is on duty and bringing patient’s to the hospital. To see him in that element and watch how he can so effortlessly respond to situations that can be stressful/chaotic is one of the best things in the world. The comfort he gives to people in moments that they feel the most vulnerable is one of the things he is so good at that makes him such a wonderful first responder and man!

Fate has a way of creeping up on you. The day I met Mason Hyman I literally thought his neck was going to break off in the ER. He had just walked in through the ambulance bay doors with a patient on his stretcher and I just so happened to be standing at the nurse’s station that is right by the bay. We saw each other immediately! I wasn’t being dramatic, he was breaking his neck as he was walking down the hallway taking his patient to their room. He would look forward making sure he didn’t run into anything, then look back over at me, look back to see where he was going. You get the picture, haha! All I kept thinking as we kept looking back and forth at each other was, “Oh man, little does he know, people have been telling me about you for like 3-4 months now and I know exactly who you are.” And that was the 100% the truth, I knew exactly who he was from the moment I saw him for the very first time. I remember the moment I saw Mason for the first time so vividly. It felt warm. He just felt familiar. We hadn’t even spoken yet, but I had an instant crush. Like all the things I had been told about him were true. It was my second shift as an ER/trauma nurse at CHI St. Joseph in Bryan. Oh God bless, I was nervous, but geez when I saw him, I was even more nervous. But a sweet nervous! Almost like a young schoolgirl who gets butterflies in her tummy when she sees a cute guy for the first time. By the look on his face, it almost seemed like maybe he knew exactly who I was too. Like maybe despite all the nerves he was probably also feeling in his belly at that moment, there was something about me that felt familiar to him, too. Yes, I had heard all about Mason Hyman over the last 3-4 months from multiple friends and a few nurses I had met while I was completing a preceptorship prior to starting my job along with all reasons why they thought we ought to meet. However, after my last year and his, neither of us were looking for love. But sometimes that’s when fate has a way of sneaking up on you.

On that same day that he saw me for the first time, I tried to keep my cool, however, it was hard to do as he confidently approached me and introduced himself stating, “Hi, I’m Mason Hyman. Is it your first day here?” And after one date at RX pizza in Bryan, we shared our first kiss. From that day forward we were pretty much an item. I found out later, a few months prior to us meeting, his family had gotten the devastating news that his dad was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. The prognosis was bad, in fact his cancer was terminal. His dad was 54 at the time and one of the hardest parts for Mason to accept was that his dad would never meet his children. As his now fiancé, looking back now I realize how full of faith Mason is. His new prayer became that the Lord would allow his dad to meet his future wife before he died. He passed away March 19, 2020. And, I remember in the last few months of his passing, I was incredibly grateful that I was able to show him that I would be here to take care of his boy, and that I was incredibly grateful for the time that I got to spend with my late father-in-law. Even though we both miss him very much, I feel that he is looking down on us and knows that I will be standing by his side even when he was not able to. I feel like Mason now has peace in his heart knowing that he found someone that had the opportunity to meet his father and have a relationship with him before he passed. Our engagement story is one of my favorite memories.

Mason and I and a few of our closest couple friends, who happen to also be firefighters and their wives, had gone to Fredericksburg on little mini vacation for few days to celebrate the holiday season. The year prior we planned this trip for the first time as a group and had such a blast that we decided to carry on the tradition. After the crazy year 2020 had been, this vacation could not have come soon enough for all of us. We were looking so forward to just getting away for a little while and to spend time with friends and each other. I never expected that we would get engaged that week, but that Mason of mine had been scheming! It was our second day being there and we were at one of our favorite places, Pedernales Vineyards. This place is beautiful! They have the most wonderful area on their property where there are some chairs and tables set up outside under some trees. You can just sit back and enjoy one another’s company. I had told Mason a couple of weeks prior to the trip that, “I’d like to go sit out there and just hang out with everyone at least one day if we could”, and I remember thinking as we were sitting there how sweet it was that he had made it happen! A couple of our friends started wondering around, and as I was about to find out, were scoping out where the best lighting for pictures and videos was. Meanwhile, I was just enjoying a good glass of wine away from the ER and all the COVID chaos. I had no idea, not even for one second, that he was about to ask me to be his wife for the rest of his life. When he asked me to come take a photo in front of beautiful hill country and then got down on one knee, it felt like a dream. Although, I knew there would be a proposal at some point and I knew without a doubt that he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, this moment felt so surreal! I mean the most precious, selfless, strong, compassionate, kind man I had ever known was right there in front of me, on his knee, telling me that he wanted to love me for the rest of his life and was asking me to marry him. Of course, I said YES! It was so fun to call both of our family’s moments after so we could share this time with all of them, and to see how excited they all were that we would soon “officially” all just be one family. I just remember being so overwhelmed with excitement and I wanted for that moment to not end. It was absolutely the most wonderful day of my life! I could watch the video that was taken of Mason proposing probably a million times. For Mason and me, we have come to realize that timing truly is everything. Love does not always come when you are or aren’t looking and ready for it. In fact, it might just come when you need it whether you realize it or not.

This past year has been a hard one for our country. Every first responder, police officer, individual serving in the military, and teacher all hold positions that come with responsibilities that I know weigh so heavy on their shoulders at times, but this last year seemed to come with even greater struggles, challenges, and burdens for them to bear. Both Mason and I are very humbled by the opportunity we have been given as healthcare workers to care for and serve the people in this community during a scary time. A time that has seemed to come with so many unknowns and fears for many. Working in the ER/Trauma department at St. Joes as registered nurse has been the most humbling and rewarding thing I have ever done. I have been given an opportunity to see firsthand just how selfless and brave the paramedics/firefighters, law enforcement officers and other first responders in our community and beyond truly are. The sacrifices they and their families make every day that allows them to do their job involves so much more than we even realize. Having the opportunity to work so closely with them is truly a privilege. I feel so extremely blessed to be marrying Mason. He is every single one of those things above. He has such a resilient spirit and is such a wonderful leader. That man has 110% taken it upon himself to do whatever he has to do to make sure that the people around him that he loves are okay. To be strong in the moments that he has felt he needed to be for everyone over this past year during a time of such sadness and change. From his precious mom grieving the loss of her husband and now trying to figure out and adjust to a new “normal”. His older brother, who he is so close to, and sister-in-law and their two little girls, ages 3 and 1, going through the loss of a father and grandfather. Plus, the pressures that have been put on the fire department while during a pandemic, all while going through your own grief process over the loss of his dad. He has never once complained or asked for a break for himself. He is one of the most selfless men I have ever met. It would be such a humbling experience to get to have a celebration with both of our families without all the stress that planning a wedding can bring. Because Adam, his father, passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic, and were not able to have the funeral that we had really hoped for. Extended family and friends were not able to come together the way that they would have if there was no COVID-19. It would be such a blessing to have just one day that both of our families and our friends could celebrate together in fellowship with one another. My future husband is so deserving of something special happening for him. I want so badly for him to have a day where he is taken care of and for us to be able to celebrate such a special time with all the people that are the most important to us there. The exciting future that God has blessed us both with. I think this celebration would symbolize for all of us, that there is light on the horizon and at the end of the day, we are truly blessed with family and most all, each other.

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