HE’S a bit of a romantic, and she didn’t suspect a thing.
South Melbourne firefighter James Kemp, 31, was never pegged as the type to declare his undying love for another, until he did, in front of 300 people.
Mr Kemp finished his MFB graduation ceremony with “one more important piece of business”.
Dressed in his standard issue firefighter uniform, Mr Kemp walked towards his unsuspecting girlfriend of two years, Cortnie Collier, removed his helmet and dropped to one knee.
She said yes.
“She always said: ‘You’d never do anything really big, you’re not the romantic type’,” Mr Kemp said. “Well, I thought it was a golden opportunity to prove her wrong. And no one had ever done anything like that before at a graduation ceremony.”
Mr Kemp said the idea for his public proposal came when he started his MFB training in mid-July. “It was brought up between a few of the guys in my course,” he said. “I thought it was a good idea and just held on to the ring until graduation.”
Station officers averted potential disaster when the crowd broke up and took cover from a downpour. Ms Collier was returned to her original seat in the front row of the grandstand after the shower passed.
“Luckily she was sitting in the right spot between my mum and her best friend so I didn’t have to walk around looking for her,” Mr Kemp said. Was he nervous? “Yeah. But I was more nervous about the march we had to do as part of the parade,” he said.
“Only after that was done did it sink in what I was about to do.”
A clip of the proposal is on YouTube and has already racked up about 5000 hits.