By Anna Erickson
It sounds like the plot of a romantic movie.
A Park Rapids man is reunited with his first love after 25 years on Good Morning America. Now the couple has some more exciting news to announce.
“We’re engaged!” Steve McCoyne announced after proposing to Nancy Hamre in Park Rapids this month.
Hamre just concluded a 10-day visit to Park Rapids last Sunday. The Saturday before she left, McCoyne planned a romantic day for the couple in downtown Park Rapids.
The couple was shopping downtown and as they walked by Park Theatre McCoyne casually asked if Hamre wanted to see a movie before dinner. He had rented the entire theater from Scott and Pam Wilson for a private screening of her favorite romantic movie, “The Notebook.”
“She was so surprised,” McCoyne said. “It was perfect.”
After the movie, the couple went to dinner at Necce’s. McCoyne had talked with staff at Necce’s in advance about his plan to propose at dinner. They made sure the couple was seated in a back corner of the restaurant and played along.
“Then I got down on one knee and asked her,” McCoyne said. “She said yes.”
Hamre was taken by surprise.
“I had no idea it was coming right then,” she said. “He had it all planned and I didn’t have a clue.”
Everyone in the restaurant stood up and clapped for the couple after witnessing the proposal.
As they were walking back to their car, Scott Wilson changed the marquee letters at Park Theatre to read, “Congratulations.”
McCoyne had his sister ready to take photos as well.
“It was definitely the most romantic day I ever had,” Hamre said. “And that’s saying a lot. Steve is a really romantic guy.”
The couple is planning a small wedding on the Oregon coast in the spring with Hamre’s brother, Steven officiating. Then she plans to move to Park Rapids.
Her experience in Park Rapids was positive.
“I didn’t know what I’d think. It’s a lot smaller town than I’m used to,” she said. “It’s absolutely beautiful and the people are great.”
The couple was first reunited in New York City with the help of singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and Good Morning America.
McCoyne met Hamre in 1989 in Phoenix, Ore. After talking for hours they were instantly in love. She was 17 and he was 19.
McCoyne was preparing for a six month deployment as a Marine and they said their goodbyes. While he was away, the couple exchanged more than 200 letters. But when McCoyne returned, they were living on opposite coasts and eventually Hamre ended the relationship.
Since then, McCoyne and Hamre had been in other relationships. Hamre was engaged to someone and had a son and McCoyne was married.
Social media eventually brought them back together. The timing was always off.
But everything came together earlier this year after they reconnected through Facebook. They realized they were both now single and began messaging and talking on the phone in February after McCoyne wrote a sweet message on her page on Valentine’s Day.
McCoyne’s sister, Sandi Bennett, is a fan of Good Morning America and heard producers on the show were looking for a first love story. She immediately thought about her brother and Hamre. After she contacted GMA, someone responded within half an hour.
They wanted to do a story about the couple to coincide with the release of Jennifer Lopez’ new single “First Love.”
McCoyne was on board. He and Hamre had already been planning to meet up in September but this opportunity would allow them to meet sooner. Hamre agreed to do the story, although she didn’t know that superstar Lopez was involved.
McCoyne talked with Lopez on Skype and the plan was set.
Good Morning America had McCoyne and Hamre flown to New York City and they each had hours of interviews before they met for the first time on camera.
Since then, McCoyne said a producer from ABC asked if they could do a follow up and maybe have a proposal on live television. They weren’t interested, though.
“Nancy’s a private person and we didn’t want to be that couple,” McCoyne said.
The intimate proposal and plans for a small wedding fit better with their style. The couple is excited to plan their future together in Park Rapids.