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Bride-to-be elated after surprise proposal at Toledo Zoo's Lights Before Christmas

The lights weren't the only things sparkling at the Toledo Zoo's Lights Before Christmas. One local veteran decided to promise his sweetheart forever.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The lights weren't the only things sparkling at the Toledo Zoo's Lights Before Christmas Wednesday evening. To make the holiday extra merry and bright, local Army veteran Frank Villarreal decided to promise his sweetheart, Kacy Kunst, forever. The heartwarming event turned out to be a very merry one for them and their families.

Kunst said "yes!"

Former WTOL 11 Holiday Hero Frank Villarreal popped the question in front of the zoo's beautifully illuminated Norway Spruce during, what Kunst thought was a special first-anniversary date. 

The zoo was the site of the couple's first date one year ago. 

"I knew it was our one year. But I had no idea. Like we had shopped, but it was a complete surprise," said Kunst. 

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The newly engaged fiancé was understandably shocked and at times at a loss for words.

"We just - it's awesome to see our family," said Kunst, laughing. 

Both members of Villarreal and Kunst's families were part of the surprise proposal. The group cheered, applauded, hugged, kissed and kept the excitement going while cracking jokes after she'd answered the BIG question.

"How many quarters in the gumball machine did that take?" One family member joked. 

"At least 50 cents," said Kunst, giggling, obviously elated.

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"We appreciate our family coming out here for us and supporting us, because we, we're big time family people," said Villarreal. 

He explained that with everything the last year has thrown at them, including the continuing pandemic, it's clear why Kunst is the one.

"We started dating like, kind of, during the height of the pandemic. We went through that together. We're both like absolutely going through those trials and tribulations together and we had each other to lean on," said Villarreal.

When asked what advice he has for anyone thinking about a holiday proposal, Villarreal said to trust your gut. When you look at your partner, if you think its meant to be, go for it.

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