The 6 men you see below have made a significant impact on both our lives in a variety of ways. Below, I'll try to give you a sense of why they mean so much to both of us and why we couldn't imagine celebrating this day without them. These stories are just a small subset of the memories we cherish to help show you the kind of people they are. For more stories, find us on May 26th :). --Corey
Marcus Soukup (best man) - Friend of the groom
I met Marc while we were both attending Loras College. Starting in different dorms, different majors, and different groups of friends, it took a couple years for us to officially meet, but for those who know Marc, it doesn't take him long to make a lasting impression. Marc loves to have fun, but that's not all. Everyone in college is trying to have fun, but Marc takes it up a notch. I'm not talking about being able to out-drink everyone at the beer-bong-laden house parties. I'm sure there was some of that, but Marc is the person who could make something as mundane as studying in the library more entertaining than the best parties without him. He goes out of his way to make everyone feel welcome and keeps people smiling.
For my 21st birthday, I had told my friends I would skip going out at midnight, seeing as it was a Monday night. Instead we would go out Tuesday, the day of my birthday for dinner and a few drinks. Marcus was having none of it. I woke up shortly before midnight to a phone call from Marc. He said he was just getting off work and apologized for running a little late. I said, "I'm actually staying in tonight, we're going out tomorrow." He just ignored that response and asked where I was at that exact moment. I told him I was in bed. He responded that he would be to my apartment in 5 minutes to pick me up and take me to the bar. There was no talking him out of it. I threw on some jeans and we drove down to the Busted Lift. I had my first Irish Car Bomb followed quickly by a Jager bomb. He wasn't there to party. He wasn't there to get drunk. He was there to ensure my life is full of stories like this one. I've never seen someone exemplify the "carpe diem" mantra while caring even more that his friends do the same.
As most of you know, I have a few opinions about the way the country is governed and what world I want to leave after I'm gone. Marcus and I agree on most things but that's not what I admire. You rarely see someone care about others as much as he does, having no personal stake besides his own morality and sense of empathy for the less fortunate. I'm so lucky to call him my friend and best man.
Brandon Faber - Friend of the Groom
I first met Faber during training camp of freshman year at Loras. We both played defensive back and spent a significant amount of time standing on the sideline so we had plenty of time to get to know each other. Over the course of freshman year, we became good friends and decided to be roommates sophomore year. We had both decided to leave the football team so we decided to devote our extra free time to studying in the library...hahaha. Seriously though, we were at an age when decision-making is not at its peak, but Faber was the guy you could always count on for common sense, despite how many drinks we had consumed.
One such instance, during homecoming sophomore year, we trekked over to Rohlman Hall to partake in a few adult beverages. A group of us were stumbling back towards lower campus when we came across the hill that leads down to the softball field behind Beckman Hall. A wave of nostalgia hit us (or maybe just me). During camp the year before a few of us would roll down this hill as fast as possible. In my current "condition," it seemed like a rather good time to revive this tradition. Not only that, I was going to break a land-speed record by lining up a long running start and leaping down this hill. Needless to say, it didn't end well. As I made my way back up the hill in obvious pain, some friends which shall remain nameless (ask me later) encouraged me to go home and "sleep it off". Luckily for me, Faber told them to shut up, proceeded to put me in Hans' Jeep, and helped me navigate the emergency room of Finley Hospital.
I tell this story for two reasons. First, everyone still seems to find it amusing. Second, to demonstrate the kind of thing Faber did on a daily basis. Sure, most days might not have been as memorable, but everyone needs a friend they can trust to always have their back, no matter what the circumstances. Faber was that guy for me.
Graham Crosh - Brother of the Bride
Clare and I both talked quite a bit about our families on our first date, especially how they had shaped who we are today. It was clear that Clare had a tremendous amount of respect for both of her brothers and she was so happy to see how they had grown into impressive young men. Graham is Clare's younger brother and it's endearing to see the amount of pride she has for him.
Graham is a data scientist. As cool as that sounds, he doesn't talk your ear off about math. He's much more likely to tell you this crazy story he heard about the old water tower on Clark St. that was a secret hideout for one of Al Capone's "business associates." He's just one of those guys that you know is crazy smart but never makes you feel dumb. He's just a fun-loving guy that makes every occasion more enjoyable.
We helped Graham and Rachel pack their moving truck the last time they moved. There were only a few things so we didn't help much but we were there long enough for me to realize this move was going all wrong. When you're moving, you're supposed to be stressed and in a bad mood, but Graham was cracking jokes and just his normal calm self. His carefree and amiable personality is contagious and it's why everyone loves hanging out with him.
If you don't know what Malört is, find Graham on May 26th and he can tell you all about it. You can thank me later.
Eric Crosh - Brother of the Bride
Eric is Clare's older brother. Because I was the oldest in my family, I think we definitely share some characteristics. I see how much Clare and Graham look up to Eric and it motivates me to be a better brother to Chad and Craig.
Adults have role models too and Eric is certainly one of mine. Eric is very successful but that's not what I admire most about him. What I admire most is how amazing of a father he is to Camden (and soon also to-be-named daughter!). My favorite story (inside joke) was back when Camden was just a few months old and Clare was discussing his "milestones" with Eric and Ashley. It's an exciting time because it seems like they're learning to do new things every week. But Eric was confident that Clare's timelines wouldn't apply to Camden. After all, just look at his genetics. Eric liked to say Camden was "very advanced" for his age. We joked that he would be walking and talking before 6 months. It was a funny exaggeration but you could sense the source of pride was very real. It never seems like his pride is a measure of his own personal accomplishments as a parent, but instead, it's just byproduct of his love for his family. Along with my parents and Clare's parents, there is no shortage of great parents to learn from when Clare and I start our family!
We were recently teasing Eric because Camden was progressing so quickly that he would soon pass up his dad in everything (intelligence, maturity, etc.). I instinctively said, "Well it's a low bar." This was obviously a joke, but if Camden does surpass his dad, that means he'll be one hell of a guy.
Chad Ollendick - Brother of the Groom
When you have a younger brother, there is this internal struggle you feel as an older sibling. You want them to succeed in everything they do, but you don't want them to be better than you at EVERYTHING.
Chad was frustratingly successful at a lot of things growing up. He was a better baseball player, better runner, etc. He actually read books for school and for fun. He was comfortable talking to complete strangers (and the ladies ;-) ). This is the first and last time I'll ever say this, Chad has also been much funnier than me basically since birth. I'm still better at math and Madden football though, that might literally be all that's left.
He often seemed more put together than I was, even though he's 7 years younger. My mother loves to tell the story of when I started ordering my own meal at restaurants because Chad started ordering his own at the age of 2 or something (before that we would just share with our parents or something).
While at times, it hurt my ego, seeing Chad grow up into a well-educated, well-adjusted adult makes me hope that I had something to do with it. It also gives me hope that I will someday become a well-educated, well-adjusted adult.
Craig Ollendick - Brother of the Groom
Craig was born in 2000, making him 17 years old. Let that sink in. It seems like only yesterday, he was curled up in the biliblanket on our living room floor, still the size of my foot. Being the baby of the family, Craig was definitely spoiled, but he was never a brat (there's still time, he's only 17). He's grown into a handsome, polite, intelligent young man, a great reflection of his parents' hard work and character (but mostly just emulating his older brothers).
My favorite story about Craig occurred during one of his first tee-ball games while we were living in Wisconsin. Craig has always been a great athlete, but you could tell he wasn't really passionate about tee-ball. This was most obvious when they asked him to play center field. Craig sprinted out to the open grass in center field, took a perfect fielder stance, and proceeded to show laser-focus...for all of 5 seconds. Before the first batter was at the plate, Craig had turned around and started looking for more interesting entertainment. He popped the heads off dandelions. He threw his glove up into the air as high as he could to see if he could catch it. After, a powerful ground ball was ripped into center field right past Craig without him even noticing, the Coaches decided they had to act. One of the assistant coaches walked out to center field to stand next to Craig and help him stay focused on the game. However, it wasn't 2 minutes longer before the coach returned to the dugout laughing hysterically. He said, "There's no use, I can't even focus out there. That kid is hilarious." He had brought a grown man nearly to tears.
Craig's humor will sneak up on you. His deadpan delivery and intelligent wit makes him one of the funniest guys I know. I wish we lived closer so I could experience it more often. He's going to do great things in his life and we're all excited to see where his unique personality takes him.