Ex-Marine stops Auburn Vet’s Day parade, pops question

11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2011 was right time for self-described numbers guy
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2011 seemed like a lucky enough convergence of numbers for Auburn’s Troy Pankoski to pop the question Friday. A self-described numbers person, the retired Marine sergeant found the perfect opportunity to ask his girlfriend Jasmine Herrera to marry him – and the proposal just so happened to come along with plenty of witnesses. The couple had gone to Downtown Auburn to watch Friday’s Veterans Day parade and as the seconds moved closer toward 11:11 a.m., Pankoski put his plan in place. Standing near Central Square, Pankoski took Herrera by the arm and led her to the center of the street and momentarily stopping the parade. He got down on one knee, pulled out the engagement ring and asked Herrera to be his bride. With hundreds of spectators looking on in amazement, Herrera quickly uttered the “yes” Pankoski had painstakingly prepared for and nervously awaited. As the two hugged and kissed, an impromptu round of applause broke out among parade onlookers. And then the parade started up again, leaving the two to begin planning for a future together as man and wife. “I was nervous,” Pankoski said. “I’ve never been married so this is the first time I’ve done this. But I’m a numbers person and I wanted to do it at 11:11 a.m.” Herrera said she had no inkling that Pankoski was about to propose. Pankoski, a Colfax High School grad who grew up in Meadow Vista, served in the Marines from 1992 to 1998. The couple met on St. Patrick’s Day 2010. “We’re very much in love and we’ve talked about marriage but when he took my arm today, I thought we were just going to cross the street,” Herrera said. The couple is now looking forward to a wedding this spring.