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Afghanistan-Bound Marine Marries his Love

SANTA CRUZ -- Marine Cpl. Joshua Clark donned his dress blues to marry his longtime sweetheart, Brittany Borns, August 15 in San Lorenzo Park. The couple wanted to be married before Clark leaves on his second deployment to Afghanistan next month.

The day started off like any other for the families of Clark and Borns. Clark's mother, Ryann, and Presswood went to work at Redwood Keg in Boulder Creek. Clark went to a friend's house to help fix a car. Borns took a bubble bath.

Borns said that she felt excited and nervous, but mainly happy.

"I'm really happy to be marrying my best friend, that's for sure," said Borns.

The couple signed their papers at the County Clerk's office then walked to San Lorenzo Park with family for a ceremony under the redwoods.

"As an elected official there's nothing more satisfying or happy than to marry a couple who's in love," said county Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who officiated the ceremony. "It's just extra special when you have a person in the military service in this situation."

The couple met when Borns was a student at San Lorenzo Valley High. Clark, who is four years older, worked at the 76 gas station in Scotts Valley and volunteered as a firefighter in Ben Lomond. Borns would visit him at the gas station.

"We were good friends," said Borns. "We would confide in each other."

In 2008, Clark enlisted in the Marines, looking for structure and a new challenge. Clark's father, Chris, was in the Coast Guard, and has two uncles and two grandfathers, who served in the Marines, Air Force and Navy.

Clark quickly climbed the ranks, making private first class right out of boot camp. In March of 2010 he was deployed to Afghanistan as a cargo transporter.

"It was nerve-wracking at first," Clark said. "Everything was much more fast paced."

He said that he eventually became more comfortable and grew to enjoy the work.

"It definitely changes you and makes you realize what you have and what you don't have," Clark said.

The couple has been engaged and living in Southern California for more than a year while Clark has attended special training programs around the country.

Clark said that they wanted to have the courthouse ceremony before he left so that Borns would have military benefits. They plan to have a larger ceremony when he returns next year.

Borns said that she has mixed feelings about Clark's deployment. "I know its what he wants. I'm just trying to be supportive about it all," said Borns, who is returning home to Ben Lomond with her 3-year-old son Gavin while Clark is overseas.

"It's going to be hard on her once he leaves, as it is for all of us," said Clark's mother Ryann. "I don't like watching the news when he's gone."

Ryann Clark said that she plans to keep Borns and Gavin company while her son is away.

"I'm in the best place up here with both of our families around here. I just worry about him," said Borns.

Clark was able to communicate with Borns when he was traveling for his training programs, but he said that Afghanistan will be a different story. He said he thinks their time away from each other will make their relationship stronger.

Andrea Atkinson, mother of the bride, said she was emotional about her baby getting married, but she's excited to have her eldest daughter and grandson back in the house.

"We're excited for everything that's yet to come, and all the new adventures that they're going to have together," said Andrea Atkinson.

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