ANN ARBOR, MICH. - At one point it seemed it would never happen for Austin Hatch, but this weekend, the former Michigan athlete is finally living the dream.
Hatch is a former basketball player at the University of Michigan and has endured unspeakable tragedy in his life.
"When you're inches away from death you really understand," the Indiana native told camera in 2013.
In 2003, Hatch survived a plane crash in which his mother, brother and sister all died.
In 2011, tragedy struck again.
Hatch was in a second plane crash this time in Northern Michigan. Austin's father and step mother died. He was placed in a medically induced coma. Just days before the crash, Austin had committed to the University of Michigan to play basketball. In 2013, that scholarship was honored.
"I think God had his hand on me and has a plan for me," he told press in 2013.
That plan, was meeting Abby Cole.
"I knew I was going to marry her after the first day we hung out together," he told WZZM 13 over the phone on Saturday.
The two met Hatch's freshman year in a political science class. Cole is from Grand Haven and played volleyball for Michigan.
"Right away I had a different feeling about him too, a really special one," Cole said.
A special feeling transformed into an unbreakable bond. A bond Hatch, wanted to seal.
"I heard a couple clicks and saw a camera man off to the left and then I saw Austin walk towards me and saw a little square thing poking out of his pocket and it just kind of hit me," Cole said as she described the scene she walked into on Friday evening.
Hatch got down on one knee and asked Cole to marry him. He called this the most important decision he's made thus far and one he knows his family would be happy with.
"I know for a fact that they're so proud of me and they're so proud and so honored to have Abigail as a part of our family," he said. "She challenges me to honor my family every day and she makes me better."
Abby graduated this weekend. Austin has one more year left at Michigan. They plan on getting married next summer.
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