When Sgt. Mike Nowacki ran the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago earlier this month, he had one goal: reach the finish line and then propose to his girlfriend.
Before he could complete the 15K, Nowacki — who was wearing 50 pounds of SWAT gear — heard people shouting for a medic. He ran over to investigate, and found a woman on the ground, not breathing. Nowacki and a firefighter gave the woman CPR, and she was rushed to a hospital. Nowacki later found out she was suffering from cardiac arrest, and the Chicago Police Department said doctors declared that his quick response saved her life.
Nowacki said that while running, he was trying to "come up with something good to say" to his girlfriend, Erin Gubala, and the medical emergency made him temporarily lose focus. Gubala is also a police officer, and met Nowacki at the finish line. She thought he was going to tell her all about the incident, Gubala told reporters, but instead, he got down on one knee. "I thought he was hurt ... and then I realized what was going on," she explained. With hundreds of spectators watching, Gubala said yes.