Proposal story garners award

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Koelling earns third place in press-association features category

By The Staff

TELL CITY - Perry County News Managing Editor Kevin Koelling earned a third-place award for a story he wrote in October 2008 about a National Guard soldier's long-distance marriage proposal.

Results of the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation's 43rd annual Better Newspaper Contest were announced at a luncheon Saturday in Indianapolis. Koelling's award was in a category for best in-depth feature or feature package.

The soldier, Scott Kleeman, made arrangements for his girlfriend, Brooke Hay, to attend a Michael Bolton concert. Bolton set the stage by singing "When a Man Loves A Woman" and approaching her in the audience before Kleeman said with a picture and audio recording broadcast to the entire audience, "I love you so much, Brooke. Will you marry me?"

The category's judge called Koelling's submission a "feel-good story nicely told" and said, "just as it required a great deal of coordination on Spc. Kleeman's part to pull off the proposal, it took similar coordination on the part of Mr. Koelling to pull this story together - and make it readable. Good pace, good quotes. All in all, an enjoyable read."

Brooke, by the way, said yes.

The couple were married Feb. 26 at the Perry County courthouse.

Son Aiden Michael joined the family, which includes 8-year-old Gabrielle, June 18. Scott Kleeman is still an Army National Guard specialist and has transferred to the 206th Engineering Battalion in Owensboro, Ky.