GREENPORT, N.Y., May 24, 2023 —Peconic Landing is excited to introduce the winners of the 11th Annual Veterans Day Wedding Giveback, Lieutenants Edward (Eddie) Joseph Wright IV, 28, of Orient, New York, and Sarah Ritchie, 27, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These active-duty Coast Guard officers were selected by a panel of Peconic Landing members to win the annual contest, which provides a free wedding at Brecknock Hall to current or former military personnel in recognition of their service. The couple was notified during a surprise reveal at Peconic Landing on May 18 with family members present in person and via Zoom.
Wright was commissioned as an officer in 2017 and is currently on his third tour of duty serving as an Assistant Chief of Marine Investigations in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Sector Miami. In his role, he investigates marine casualties involving commercial vessels and generates safety recommendations that drive changes in law or regulation for commercial vessels. He has earned the Secretary of Homeland Security Meritorious Service Silver Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, and Coast Guard Achievement Medal, among others.
Ritchie was also commissioned as an officer in 2017 and is on her third tour of duty with the USCG. She recently received her designation as an Aviator on April 28 and now serves as an MH-65E pilot at USCG Air Station Miami. She has earned the Department of Homeland Security Outstanding Unit Award, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, and Coast Guard Achievement Medal, among others.
The couple met at the Coast Guard Academy in 2013 and were friends for four years before dating in 2017. They were both stationed in Louisiana during their second tours, until Ritchie left New Orleans to live her dream and attend flight school in Pensacola, Florida. The couple traveled a distance of 200 miles to see each other while in rigorous training billets.
On New Year’s Day of 2022, Wright proposed to Ritchie at Audubon Park in New Orleans, after celebrating their fifth New Year’s Eve together. He surprised her with an heirloom ring that belonged to her great-grandmother.
Wright explained how growing up on the North Fork shaped his future. “Part of the mission statement of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Sarah and I’s alma mater, 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 during my childhood on the North Fork. My first real job at a marina paved the way for a career in the Coast Guard and allowed me to meet Sarah.”
This year’s winning couple will be provided with a complete wedding on Sunday, November 12, 2023 in celebration of Veterans Day. Sponsored by Peconic Landing, the giveaway is made possible through contributions from local businesses and organizations who donate an estimated $60,000 worth of time, talents, and services to create a fairy tale wedding.
“Congratulations to Eddie and Sarah, a truly deserving couple,” said Robert J. Syron, Peconic Landing’s President and CEO. “Your dedication to our country and each other is truly inspiring, and we are delighted to be a part of your beautiful love story. Thank you to our generous local sponsors for making this possible.”
Wright and Ritchie were chosen by a panel of Peconic Landing members with military ties, who judge the contest based on the number of years served, special military honors, and each couple’s personal love story.
The Veterans Day Wedding Giveback began in 2011 as an opportunity to thank Long Island’s military personnel and recognize them for their service to our country. The annual contest is open to both current and veteran service members; at least one partner must have served or be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Sponsors of the 2023 Veterans Day Wedding Giveback include: Arni Paperie, Beautiful By Katy & Dina, Beauty by Devon , Blooms by Design, By Hand Catering, East End Events Catering, Fresh Face Photobooths, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Greenport Wines & Spirits, Jack Franzino Films, Janelle Brooke Photography, Jerri’s Cakes, Lieb Cellars, LI Nights Entertainment, Lil Red Rentals, Madfashionlovexo – Linda Shapiro, McBurnie Tent Rental, North Fork Bridal Shoppe, North Fork NJROTC, North Fork Picture Cars, Riverhead Flower Shop, Sassy Sue’s Sweet Treats, Southold Fish Market, Sterlington Deli, Sugar Magnolias Flowers, Times Review Media Group, and True Elizabeth Designs.