FF student takes prom invitation to new heightsPublished 12:07pm Monday, March 11, 2013
Brooke Kollman was flying high — literally — when Brandon Olson asked her to the upcoming prom in a big way. She was in an airplane over a snowy field north of Fergus Falls when she saw the word “Prom?” spelled out below her.
She had no idea why she and her friend Sonia were in the plane, other than Sonia had asked her to come along as she shot some aerial photos.
After about 10 minutes in the air, she saw the word in the snow, but didn’t realize it was for her until Sonia told her, “That’s for you.”
“My face went bright red,” said Brooke. “My heart melted. It’s the nicest thing anybody has ever done for me.”
A few days earlier, Brandon and his friend, Jake “J.J.” Jennen, were sitting in history class, thinking about all the ways they could pop the question to Brooke when the railroad tie idea came to him.
The original plan was to put the ties on the fork of a skid steer, drive to a spot marked in a field on County Highway 82 and haul the ties to form the word “PROM?”
Brandon, a Fergus Falls High School junior, shared the idea with his parents, Kim and Keith Olson on a Monday night before executing his plan the following day after school. Brandon asked his father, a pilot, if he could fly his potential prom date over the site when all was prepared.
“I thought I would wait to see if it all happened,” said Olson. “It was a fabulous idea, but sometimes these plans pan out and sometimes they don’t. He must have really wanted to impress her.”
Adrian Jennen, J.J.’s brother, ran the skid steer which was used to transport the railroad ties to the specific spot.
It took six hours, with most of that time spent spelling the single word and punctuation mark in the snow with spray paint, loading the skid steer, then getting the skid steer unstuck, and redirecting the vehicle to the proper spot, said Brandon.
“The snow was three feet deep,” Brandon said. “(The skid steer) would hit soft spots (in the snow) and start to sink.”
Then, the driver missed the mark and was heading too far left of the marked snow.
Once the skid steer got to the correct spot, the two friends made quick work spelling the word, finishing up about 10 p.m.
The next phase of the plan was ready to be executed. Brandon enlisted help from Brooke’s friend, Sonia Strauch to get her clueless friend up in the air with his dad.
After school Wednesday, Olson started his Piper Cherokee 180 single-engine airplane and took the girls flying. As they flew over the spot, Brooke pointed out the word below, thinking it was for someone else.
“The look on this girl’s face was absolutely priceless,” Olson said, when she was told it was for her. “She was beaming from ear to ear.”
After a bit, Olson finally had to ask — “’What’s your answer?’ She said yes, and I told her that was good because I didn’t think Brandon had a plan B.”
While the elder Olson knew the answer almost immediately, it wasn’t until about 12:30 p.m. Thursday before Brandon got his answer. That’s when Brooke planned a little surprise of her own.
She asked Brenda in the school office if she could use the intercom and broadcast the story to Brandon’s fourth-hour class — Katherine Enderson’s Financial Life Management.
“Since (the request) I haven’t had a chance to talk to Brandon,” Brooke said, finishing her story. “Here’s your answer — Brandon, I would love to go to the prom with you.”
The question of how to top this prom request stunt for next year has already been tossed about, Brandon said.
And while he is unsure what he’ll do, one unknown source had a suggestion — build a space shuttle and write it on the moon.