Sergeant runs 15K in SWAT gear, saves a life and gets engaged in 1 day

Mike Nowacki was at a loss for words on the proposal after performing CPR.

November 6, 2019, 5:13 PM

A 19-year police veteran and SWAT member in Chicago, Illinois, had a rather eventful day recently, to say the least, as he ran in a 15K marathon.

Sgt. Mike Nowacki was participating in the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K on Sunday in Chicago, where he'd planned to propose to girlfriend Erin Gubala at the finish line.

Gubala, also a Chicago police officer, was on duty at the event.

PHOTO: In a photo posted to the Facebook account of the Chicago Police Department, SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki proposes to his girlfriend, Officer Erin Gubala.
In a photo posted to the Facebook account of the Chicago Police Department, SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki proposes to his girlfriend, Officer Erin Gubala.
Chicago Police Department/Facebook

While he was running in his full, 50-pound SWAT gear, Nowacki said during a recent news conference, he started hearing people yell "Medic! Medic!" about 150 yards south of the end of the race.

When he reached the group, he found a woman on the ground who was not breathing. Along with a firefighter, he helped administer CPR to the woman.

"The female subject was transported to Northwestern Hospital where doctors stated Sgt. Nowacki's actions and the quick response by emergency medical services saved the female's life," the Chicago Police Department said in a Facebook post.

"It was definitely a serendipitous moment because if I had run a little bit slower or a little bit faster, I would have never encountered the young lady," Nowacki told ABC affiliate WLS-TV.

Afterward, he went to find Gubala.

"Mostly what I was trying to do as I finished the race was come up with something good to say and then I was totally thrown off by having to perform CPR," Nowacki said.

PHOTO: In this photo posted to the Chicago Police Department's Facebook account, SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki poses with Officer Erin Gubala.
In this photo posted to the Chicago Police Department's Facebook account, SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki poses with Officer Erin Gubala.
Chicago Police Department/Facebook

As Nowacki ran toward her, Gubala said that she thought he was going to tell her about the woman he'd saved. Then, Nowacki got down on one knee. She said that, at first, she thought he was hurt.

"I wanted to talk to him about what happened down the way, find out more information. ... Then he just said, 'Erin, I don't know what to say' and then I realized what was going on," Gubala said during the news conference, according to WLS-TV.

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