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Cheshire volunteer firefighter proposes atop Freedom Tower in NYC

(WHAM photo)

Canadaigua, N.Y. - A volunteer firefighter in Cheshire took his love to new heights when he climbed 100 stories to complete the perfect proposal.

That happened on Sunday during the annual at the annual Tunnel to Towers charity climb at One World Trade Center in New York City, an event that honors and raises money for fallen firefighters.

“This was my second time climbing,” said Jim Busch. “I always thought how nice it would be to propose to Lydia on top of the Freedom Tower.”

The spark between volunteer firefighters Busch and Lydia Mazza started when they worked at Thompson Hospital.

“She didn’t have her nametag on. So, I said, ‘Oh, what’s your name? And, she says, 'You’ll never know.' So right from the start, she was sassy,” Busch recounts.

Mazza's brush-off didn't stop the 13-year fire veteran from pursuing her.

“I looked at the friend request on Facebook and thought to myself, 'Oh, I remember this bozo from the ICU. OK, I’ll play along,' and I accepted it," said Mazza.

Fast-forward a year and half to this past Sunday, when the couple participated in the tower climb. Mazza was excited about growing their bond and making memories.

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Busch said. “Until just prior to the start of the climb, and she noticed how nervous I was.”

“He was just shaking in his boots about what was to come,” Mazza said. “I had absolutely no clue what was awaiting us at the finish.”

They took the more than 100-story climb.

“So we get to the top, and all I wanted was a bottle of water and to see the view,” Mazza said.

But Busch had something else in mind - a poster board with the words: "Will you marry me" on it.

“I look up and see that and he gets down on one knee and opens the box, and it’s the ring that I wanted so badly,” Mazza said. “I look at him and say, ‘Absolutely!’"

It's a moment they’ll both cherish.

“It was just breathtaking and priceless and actually indescribable that this has happened,” said Busch. “For 31 years, I was always dreaming for a wonderful lady. And I never knew I would meet someone as wonderful as Lydia.”

The week before his proposal, Busch drove five hours to Connecticut to give Mazza’s ring to the event's media coordinator. She was the one to get her ring past security, and to the top of the Freedom Tower.

“I thought it was so sentimental,” Mazza said. “So memorable to be on top of the Freedom Tower, supporting a cause that is so good, and in a place that is so memorial and significant. That added a lot of meaning.”

Even what appeared to be an arrow in the sky just outside the tower window marked the occasion.

The couple is planning to tie the knot either this summer or after Mazza finishes nursing school.

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