Area Jeweler Created Ring For ‘Presidential Proposal’

Area Jeweler Created Ring For ‘Presidential Proposal’
Area Jeweler

BERLIN – A local jewelry store recently played a part in a “presidential proposal” that went viral

North Carolina veteran Tyler Jeffries was thrown into the national spotlight when former President George H.W. Bush tweeted a photo of Jeffries proposing to his girlfriend Lauren Lilly at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine. It was Ocean City jeweler DA Kozma that designed the engagement ring Jeffries placed on Lilly’s hand.

“I’m honored we were able to be a small part of it,” said Adrienne Kozma.

Though Jeffries has no connection to Ocean City, he was one of 10 veterans and their mothers who were featured in the book Unbreakable Bonds by Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris. Guerin, a volunteer at Walter Reed Medical Center, wrote the book after seeing the struggles wounded soldiers faced upon their return home to the United States. While the book was published in 2014, Guerin remains in touch with the soldiers whose personal battles she featured in the book. When Jeffries, who spent time at Walter Reed after losing two legs in an IED explosion, recently told her he was going to propose to Lilly, she knew he’d need help finding a ring. Guerin, who has a second home in the Ocean City area, put him in touch with her regular jeweler, Adrienne Kozma.

“I go to them all the time,” Guerin said. “They’re great people and they’re very honest.”

Kozma said when she got the call from Guerin she was eager to help. She always enjoys designing engagement rings and was particularly happy to help do something positive for one of the country’s veterans.

“It was neat just being able to do it,” she said.

Jeffries told Kozma what he was thinking and she started emailing him photos of designs he might like. After some back and forth, he selected a ring with a round one carat diamond in the center and diamonds running down the sides.

“It’s a traditional look but very sparkly,” Kozma said.

Guerin praised the kindness the staff at DA Kozma showed Jeffries in helping him design the ring and ensuring it was something he’d be able to afford.

Kozma said she was just happy to help. She didn’t think too much more about the ring until one of her associates called to tell her Jeffries and his fiancé had just been interviewed on Inside Edition.

The Jeffries’ proposal gained national attention after a photo was tweeted by the elder Bush. Jeffries had proposed to Lilly while he and the other veterans featured in Unbreakable Bonds were visiting the Bush family — both former presidents and their wives — in Kennebunkport with Guerin. George H.W. Bush, Guerin explained, was someone she’d worked with in the past and had agreed to write the forward of the book. Once it was published, he wanted to meet the soldiers in it.

“It was just for a fun visit,” Guerin said.

When she mentioned to the former president that Jeffries planned to propose to his girlfriend later that weekend, Bush encouraged him to do it right then even though Lilly was not on the estate but in town.

“He said ‘get her over here,’” Guerin recalls.

When she arrived, one of the other wounded veterans helped Jeffries — who has two prosthetic legs–get down on one knee.

“Before he even said anything she screamed yes,” Guerin said.  “It was the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. It brought tears to my eyes.”

She’s now helping the couple with wedding planning. She’s also provided them with some tips on speaking to the media, as the interview requests have been pouring in since the proposal hit social media. Guerin hopes the media interest will serve to remind Americans of the struggles veterans, particularly severely wounded ones like Jeffries, face when they come home.

“These wounded warriors have so many issues,” she said. “Once they come back people tend to forget about them but their needs are going to be forever.”