Cheers to Peconic Landing’s 2023 Wedding Giveback winners
Peconic Landing announced the winners of its 11th annual Veterans Day Wedding Giveback on Friday: Lts. Edward (Eddie) Wright IV of Orient, 28, and Sarah Ritchie of Pittsburgh, Pa., 27. Both are graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., and are currently serving their third tours of duty.
Like their predecessors, the couple will receive a free wedding at Brecknock Hall on Peconic Landing grounds, which will take place Sunday, Nov. 12, in honor of Veterans Day.
The contest provides a complete wedding and reception that include around $60,000 worth of products and services — from food and flowers to photography and live music — donated by local businesses and organizations, all aimed at creating a fairy tale wedding for the couple.
“Congratulations to Eddie and Sarah, a truly deserving couple,” said Peconic Landing president and CEO Robert Syron. “Your dedication to our country and each other is truly inspiring, and we are delighted to be a part of your beautiful love story.”
Lt. Wright currently serves as assistant chief of marine investigations with the Coast Guard in Miami. He investigates marine casualties involving commercial vessels and makes safety recommendations that help inform policy or regulations for commercial vessels. He was commissioned as an officer in 2017.
According to a press release, he has earned the Secretary of Homeland Security Meritorious Service Silver Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal and more.
Lt. Wright said his love of water stems from his childhood on the North Fork and helped shape his future.
“Part of the mission statement of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is to graduate young men and women with a liking for the sea and its lore,” he said. “My love of being on the water started [early] . My first real job at a marina paved the way for a career in the Coast Guard and allowed me to meet Sarah.”
Lt. Ritchie received her designation as an aviator on April 28 and now serves as a pilot at the USCG Air Station Miami. She has also been decorated with multiple awards including the Department of Homeland Security Outstanding Unit Award, Coast Guard Commendation Medal and Coast Guard Achievement Medal. She, too, was commissioned an officer in 2017.
The couple met at the Coast Guard Academy in 2013, four years before they began dating. During their second tours, both were stationed in New Orleans until Ms. Ritchie left to attend flight school in Pensacola, Fla. From that point, they would travel 200 miles to see each other during very rigorous training billets.
After five years together, Lt. Wright proposed to Lt. Ritchie on New Year’s Day 2022 at Audubon Park in New Orleans, surprising her with a ring that had belonged to her great-grandmother.
The couple were selected as this year’s winners by a panel of Peconic Landing members with military ties. The contest is judged based on the number of years served, special military honors and the couple’s personal love story. They were notified May 18 during a surprise reveal at Peconic Landing, which included family members who were present both in person and via Zoom.
The Veterans Day Giveback began in 2011 to thank Long Island’s military personnel for their service to the country. The annual contest is open to current and former service members and at least one partner must have served or be active in the U.S. armed forces.