SYCAMORE—DeKalb native Steven Estes soon will be deployed for a third time to Afghanistan. But this time, he'll be doing it as a married man.
Estes, a 24-year-old Army fire support specialist, married his girlfriend of more than two years – Sandwich resident Annie Baccetti, 21 – Friday at the DeKalb County Courthouse. The couple planned to get married later in December, but Estes' promotable status led to his deployment date to be moved.
"We work as a team pretty good," Estes said. "I think in the future we'll be well off."
About 15 close family members attended the wedding. Estes was dressed in his military uniform, and Baccetti wore a simple, white knee-length dress with lace detailing on the neck line.
Estes seemed a little eager: He put the ring on her finger before Judge Thomas Doherty read Baccetti her vows.
Estes, who has already served in Iraq and Afghanistan, anticipates a shorter deployment this time. When he comes home, he and Baccetti will move to El Paso, Texas, for a year while Estes is stationed at Fort Bliss.
Baccetti isn't looking forward to Estes being overseas.
"It's tough," she said. "We Skype a lot when he's over there."
The deployment isn't easy for the rest of the family, either. Estes' father, Eric, said his son has spent a lot of time in combat.
"It's hard, but we're extremely proud," said Eric Estes, who is an Army veteran. "We've gotten a lot of support from the community, like people who gave us care packages."
For now, the couple plans to spend as much time as they can together in the next couple of weeks.
"When they're together, they're constantly together," Eric Estes said. "As soon as he comes home, they're together 24-7."
Catlyn Cochrane, Steven Estes' stepsister, said her brother as very silly when they were growing up, but is maturing and growing into a good man. Eric Estes II, his brother and a former Marine, agrees.
"[Annie] has helped him handle situations," Eric Estes II said. "He was always the fighter type, but now, not so much. She's changed him."
Antonietta Baccetti, Annie's mother, had some advice for her daughter.
"Respect each other, and don't take each other for granted," she said.
Annie Baccetti said she is excited about spending the rest of her life with Steven.
"I'm looking forward to being with him every day," she said, "and waking up next to him every morning."