Former Marine TJ Brooks is ready for the next chapter. The recovering war veteran and his girlfriend, Stephanie, recently found themselves on HGTV’s hit series Fixer Upper, asking Chip and Joanna Gaines to help renovate their 980-square-foot Waco, Texas, home.
But though it was exciting to see their dream home take shape—a new kitchen! A master bath where the master bedroom once was!—it was what happened after the completion of the renovation that really marked the beginning for Brooks and Stephanie.
After touring their brand new home, Brooks had a few important thoughts to share with Stephanie, and as the Gaines’s looked on, he expressed his love and devotion to his forever roommate.
“I just love you so much, and I know we’ve been on a lot of great adventures and I think this marks the beginning of our greatest adventure,” he said, dropping to one knee. “Will you marry me?”
A shocked Stephanie briefly covered her mouth after Brooks’ proposal but obviously said yes. They embraced.
The newly engaged couple’s road to proposal has one littered with challenges, along with plenty of love and support. They first met a few years back when Brooks was recovering at the Walter Reed Medical Center after losing his leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Stephanie happened to be working for the Wounded Warrior Project at the time.
As their relationship got increasingly serious, they decided to move to Waco and purchased a home that sat on a gorgeous piece of property; the unusual house is an apartment of sorts built within the confines of a 2,100-square-foot corrugated metal building originally used as a barn.
“When we first saw the house, we really didn’t know what to expect,” Brooks told HGTV. “But when we walked in and we saw the amazing views, we really both fell in love at the same time.”
The only problem with renovating the place, however, was that the new homeowners were budgeting for $45,000 in renovations. The Gaines’s assessed that they would actually realistically require $100,000 in renovations. When news started to spread about Brooks and Stephanie’s predicament, however, the community pitched in, donating funds and materials to help make their dream home become a reality.