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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. — For Hunter Sawyers, Monday’s solar eclipse was the perfect time to pop the question to his girlfriend while at Hanging Rock State Park.

“It was really beautiful and everything and she was distracted looking at the beautiful eclipse,” Sawyers said.

“’It’s a once in a lifetime happening and you’re a once in a lifetime girl,’” Sawyers said during his proposal. “I said, ‘I want to grow old with you and tell our grandkids about this day.’”

Sawyers and his fiancée Elaina Bullard have known each other since they were 3 years old.

“We grew up in the church together,” Bullard said.

She thought they were going to Hanging Rock for a picnic and to watch the eclipse like everyone else.

“He was behind me,” Bullard said. “And he was putting the glasses on me.”

It was the perfect distraction for what he really had in mind.

“While I was looking at it, that’s when he quickly pulled it out,” Bullard said. “When I turned around, he was kneeling.”

It’s a proposal the 20-year-old says he started planning two months ago as soon as he heard about the solar eclipse.

“I just kept it a big secret because I didn’t want anything to spill out,” Sawyers said.

Despite being prepared with a ring, solar eclipse shades and the perfect backdrop, Sawyers was still overwhelmed with emotion.

“I was very, very nervous but luckily I got the words out,” he said. “I couldn’t help but to tear up a little bit.”

“I started crying,” Bullard said. “I was speechless. It was wonderful.”