Some people are simply born to be heroes. They have a level of bravery that helps them stand out from the crowd and a need to help others that drives them to put their lives on the line for the benefit of their fellow man. Chicago PD SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki is one of those people, ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice, saving lives even when he’s not on duty!
Sgt. Nowacki was running in the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Run, equipped in 50lbs of SWAT gear.
He knew it was going to be a special day, as he’d planned to propose to his girlfriend, Erin Gubala, who is also a Chicago PD officer. Little did Mike know that this race had another big surprise in store!
He was running along, getting close to the end of the 9-mile race, when he suddenly heard screaming. People were calling for a medic, and it looked like a female runner had collapsed.
Mike, following his training and instincts, rushed over to the scene. He discovered that a woman was having a heart attack, so instantly began administering CPR alongside fellow emergency worker, Walter Cook, a firefighter from Indiana.
Together, Mike and Walter helped to keep the woman alive while an ambulance rushed to the scene. Mike called for help on his radio, and Erin, his girlfriend, was listening in on the whole scene.
The woman was then transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
“As a police officer, we go toward the sound of gunfire,” Nowacki said. “As a SWAT medic, we also have that instinct to go toward the sound of someone calling, ‘Medic.’”
Then, as soon as Mike was done saving a life, he got right back on with the race, eager to reach the finish line and pop the question to the love of his life. Within minutes, he made it to the end and was getting ready to ask Erin to be his bride.
“Before I knew it, he was running at me, crossing the fishing line. I didn’t even see him,” Erin explained, “And then he got down on one knee. It was just a whirlwind! I didn’t know what was going on.”
Mike joked that his fiancée simply had to say “Yes!” after seeing her partner perform such a heroic act, and the Chicago PD organized a special press conference to celebrate the engagement and honor their officer’s bravery.
The story was shared on social media too, where it quickly went viral, with Officer Nowacki receiving many messages of respect, admiration, and support for his life-saving acts.
The proposal definitely didn’t go quite as Mike had originally envisioned, but the only thing that matters is that Erin said yes and the pair are now looking forward to their wedding day and a future life, side by side.
Learn more about their magical story in the clip below.
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