Heating up the ice rink


In late afternoon Jan. 23, David Mertogul, pre-elementary education major, went skating at the DeKalb Community Ice Rink with his girlfriend, Amy Lenhart. After taking a picture, the song that the couple had their first kiss to played on the stereo. Mertogul took off his shirt, revealing a handmade short-sleeve shirt which read, “Amy, will you marry me?”

Despite the 24-degree weather, Lenhart said yes.

The preparation for the big day started about a week before. Mertogul contacted Luke Dailing, DeKalb Community Ice Rink manager, and set up a date. Mertogul then created the shirt, hid the ring and sorted ‘marry me’ candy hearts.

“Amy thought it’d be really cool to be proposed to with those candy hearts,” Mertogul said. “I made a mistake and bought the mini hearts instead of the big hearts, and it took me two hours to sort three bags.”

Mertogul’s nerves kicked in as the couple walked from the parking lot to the rink.

“I wanted to make sure Amy didn’t know that [Luke and I] knew each other,” Mertogul said. “I also got worried because we’re not good at ice skating, and I had to convince her to stick it out.”

Once the proposal was accepted, the couple thanked Luke Dailing and went back to the car to call their parents.

“[We called] the moms first and then the dads,” Mertogul said.

Diane Dailing, owner of the skate school that operates through the ice rink, was excited for the rink’s first engagement.

“I knew by getting involved in this project, we would create memories for people,” Diane Dailing said. “It’s worth it when stuff like that happens.”

Jennifer Groce, Re:New DeKalb executive director, was equally pleased.

“I think it’s a really sweet moment,” Groce said. “It’s nice that NIU students are celebrating special moments of their lives in our downtown.”

For Mertogul, the surprise is all that mattered.

“I would’ve died if I didn’t surprise her,” Mertogul said. “We had been dating for four and a half years. It was about time.”