Talk about an overachiever. Mike Nowacki, a Chicago police sergeant and medic, was running in a charity 15k last week and had reached the 9-mile mark when he heard someone shouting for help. Another runner had had a heart attack and needed medical attention. It already wasn’t a typical jog for Nowacki, a 19-year police veteran, as he had been planning to propose to his girlfriend at the end of the race before he heard the shouts of distress.
“My plan was to propose at the finish line,” said Nowacki, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
He knew what he had to do, veering off to give the stricken runner CPR.
Incredibly Nowacki was running the approximately 10-mile race in 50 pounds of S.W.A.T. gear which may have slowed him down just enough to be in the right place at the right time when the cries of “Medic!” came. As Nowacki said during a Monday press conference, according to MSN:
“I hear people screaming, ‘medic, medic,’ as a police officer, we go toward the sound of gunfire and then as a S.W.A.T. medic we also have that instinct to go toward the sound of someone calling ‘medic.'”
Chicago SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki was pounding the pavement in a 15K charity run with an engagement ring burning a hole in his pocket when a young woman collapsed. He rushed to her, performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, finished the race -- and then got down on one knee. pic.twitter.com/q1I82u0Z56— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) November 7, 2019
According to the Chicago Police Department EMS soon arrived and took the runner to a hospital where doctors said Sgt. Nowacki’s swift action saved the woman’s life.
After helping to save that life, and still clad in full S.W.A.T. gear, Nowacki only had two things on his mind: Finishing the race and proposing to his girlfriend Erin Gubala, herself a police officer.
According to the Sun-Times, Gubala described it as a pretty hectic afternoon.
“Lo and behold, before I knew it, he was running at me, crossing the finish line. I didn’t even see him. And then he got down on one knee. It was just a whirlwind.”
She said yes.