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Local couple says ‘I do’ to each other and to serving our country

June 15, 2008
By KEVIN HOWELL, Salem News staff writer

Salem News staff writer

After Salem resident Michael C. Holenchick III enlisted in the Army in April, he and his girlfriend, Ashley L. Whitman, decided to take advantage of a marriage program offered by the military.

Married during a ceremony at City Hall Friday afternoon, the couple will both be enlisted in the Army. Through the program, they can not be stationed more than 50 miles apart while in the states, Michael said.

Both 2008 graduates of Salem High School, the two met when Michael cold-called Ashley for a date on Dec. 16, 2006. Contemplating marriage for some time now, Ashley said she is looking forward to serving with Michael.

Since Michael is leaving for basic training in Georgia on Sunday, Ashley enlisted on Thursday and the two were married Friday. Ashley leaves for her basic training in South Carolina June 26. The two will not join together again for about five or six months, they said.

The decision to enlist was made easy by her love for Michael, Ashley said.

“He’s very good to me and treats me well,” she said, conveying an unspoken love through her gazes at Michael.

The marriage evoked many emotions for family members, the first of its kind of which the family members present knew.

“Proud. Happy. Sad,” said Michael’s grandparents DeErla and Robert Holenchick Sr. when asked how they felt about their feelings of the marriage.

“It’s a big commitment, but they’ll work through it,” Michael’s mother, Karena Holenchick, said. “They respect each other and hopefully they will continue to grow and make good choices.”

The bride’s parents are Larry A. and Lori A. Whitman. The groom’s parents are Karena Holenchick and Dallas Kevin Bolner.

The marriage was Mayor Jerry Wolford’s 13th since taking office in January, but the first of its kind, he said.

Kevin Howell can be reached at

Article Photos

Salem mayor Jerry Wolford marries Salem residents Michael C. Holenchick III and Ashley L. Whitman Friday in City Hall. The couple will soon by serving our country in the Army. (Salem News photo by Kevin Howell)



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