TAMPA, Fla.- After a simple marriage ceremony in 2008, Army Specialist Justin McIlwain and his wife Victoria planned to go all out renewing their vows in January with the wedding Victoria always dreamed of. Then, in March unexpected news: a change of orders meant Justin would be redeployed and the wedding put on hold.
"When orders are cut, it's cut and dry. We have to go there's no questions," said Victoria.
The change of plans meant a loss of hundreds of dollars in deposit money for the McIlwains that is until the couple's florist had a change of heart.
"Maybe I should look at this in a little different manner," said Christine Hackett, the McIlwain's florist in an exclusive interview with 10 News. "There are a lot of hurt people out here over that. And I wanted to apologize mainly to Justin and Victoria because I didn't mean to get them this upset with this; I really didn't."
Christine Hackett runs her small company, the Bridal Florist, out of her Tampa home and got an inbox full of e-mails after our first report ran Tuesday night.
"I had a lot of military people contacting me on the internet, which was shocking. I had no idea that was going to happen."
Her initial decision to keep the deposit was based on her standard contract. Thursday she reconsidered taking into account the couple's sacrifice in the military."
"Living in this county is the greatest thing in the whole world for the ability to be able to do that."
"Any time our troops are involved, then people become very passionate," said Billy Howard, an attorney for the McIlwain's.
Howard, an attorney with Morgan and Morgan says he was thrilled the case ended without having to take the florist to court.
"This family just wants what is right and they're very excited now. They feel like they were treated fairly," said Morgan.
"It relieves a lot of stress, a lot of tension, a lot of the weight on my shoulders," said Victoria, who shared the news with her husband in Afghanistan.
"He's very appreciative that she's willing to compromise and work with us. He wishes he was here to personally thank her."
Hackett says the decision makes her feel good too. "You know, doing the right thing and making somebody happy, just like I make my brides happy all the time."
Victoria says the decision makes a big statement. "It makes a world of difference to know there are people who are supporting you."
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