Note: When I first posted these photos earlier in the week, I left out most of the details because I wasn’t sure if I might include Ashtin Fitzwater in the story about 12s going to Arizona without game tickets. I posted it early because other news agencies were already getting the photo out there and I didn’t want to be too far behind them.
So here is an expanded version of Wednesday’s post, with more information I had then, and updates, including one that’s humongous! And I don’t use that word or exclamation points liberally.
Ashtin Fitzwater left the Northwest in 2004 following his graduation from Central Kitsap High School, but remains a 12, representing in his new hometown of Chandler, Ariz.
We first posted this Wednesday, but a lot has happened since.
Fitzwater took about five hours on a Saturday to paint the home he and his girlfriend rent from her mother. I was skeptical, and so was one of my editors, that a house could be painted in five hours, but Fitzwater has skills. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in housing and community development and has worked in construction since. “I’ve painted a lot of houses,” he said.
The Seahawk logo on the lawn was done by hand. He set himself up to do it well, applying math to the Seahawk logo from his construction helmet to measure out a 20-foot-by-7-foot rectangle with corners staked with rebar. (And you kids say math won’t help you in life.) He used string to create the box for the bird and went to work, looking at his helmet and spraying the lawn.
This week, as you can imagine, there has been a crush of media in Arizona, including lots from Seattle. KING-5 TV was, I think, the first media outlet to post pictures of Fitzwater and his house. Fitzwater’s brother, Jeremy Hunt, re-Tweeted a KING-5 photo and mentioned he’s a CK alum, so I got him on the phone. Since then, other Seattle news agencies have been by and the Fox affiliate in Phoenix paid attention. A Spokane station, KXLY, has given him the most attention, which we’ll get to shortly.
Fitzwater said he’s seen lots of people driving by to get a look. A neighbor counted 30 cars one day. One family came by and the mom had a Patriots jersey on, so the 12s that were with her had fun and put duct tape over her mouth and wrapped a Hawk flag around her as they took pictures. The mom was a willing victim, so save the nasty letters.
Yesterday when Fitzwater arrived home he found someone had left him a jumbo bag of Skittles. He set up a camera to see footage of people responding to the setting. A lot of people have taken selfies, some of them looking around nervously as if a house that’s begging for attention is also demanding privacy. One day Fitzwater heard a woman yelling “We found it!” to her friends. They’d been out scouring Chandler neighborhoods looking for the Seahawk house.
As Fitzwater and I were talking Friday a mailman stopped across the street to get a selfie with the house behind him.
And so it has gone, but that’s not the biggest news yet. Hunt is, as of this writing, traveling down to Arizona to watch the game with Fitzwater, but that’s not the biggest news either.
KXLY caught the big news, Fitzwater proposing to his girlfriend, Melissa Duke, at night as both are standing on the Seahawk logo. The two have been together eight years and have been talking about marriage. They’ve been talking about it so much, in fact, that Duke kept telling Fitzwater that he couldn’t surprise her.
She was wrong.
A friend asked Duke on a scale of 1-10 how surprised she was by the proposal.
Can you guess her answer?
Hint: She’s a Seahawk fan, too.
Second hint: Look to the roof of the house, or any car with a flag waving anywhere near Seattle.
— Marie Hire (@HireMarie) January 29, 2015
Standing behind them in the KXLY video were a pair of friends, Adam Collins (also a 2004 Central Kitsap High School grad) and Christina Adams. They’ve been engaged two years and have been having trouble figuring out where to get married and what kind of arrangements to make. According to Fitzwater they now plan to get married Sunday morning, on the Seahawk lawn.
Duke, for her part, has always dreamed of a destination wedding, so she and Fitzwater are beginning to make their plans for sometime in the future.
My suggestion: San Francisco, early February 2016. If all goes well they could be there to witness the birth of the Three-Hawks.