Sergeant runs race in SWAT gear, saves a life, then proposes marriage, all in matter of moments

CHICAGO – A police sergeant ran a race in full SWAT gear, saved the life of a person in need of medical aid, then proposed marriage, all in a matter of moments.

As a result, the finish line of Sunday’s Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Run was life-changing for Chicago Police Department’s Sgt. Mike Nowacki, his girlfriend, and a complete stranger with “serendipitous” timing.

The 19-year-veteran of the Chicago Police Department and SWAT medic planned on proposing to his girlfriend of several years, Chicago Police Officer Erin Gubala, who was stationed at the finish line of the 9-mile race. However, while rehearsing his lines as he approached the end of the course, duty called.

“I hear people screaming, ‘medic, medic,'” Nowacki said during a press conference Monday. “As a police officer, we go toward the sound of gunfire and then as a SWAT medic we also have that instinct to go toward the sound of someone calling ‘medic.'”

SWAT gear

Chicago Police Officer Erin Gubala with SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki got engaged Sunday after Nowacki ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in full gear and reviving another runner. (Chicago Police Department)

Gubala heard her boyfriend’s call sign saying he was administering CPR, which put her on pins and needles waiting to see what would happen in the life-or-death situation, Fox News reported.

“Before I knew it he was running at me, crossing the finish line,” she said. “He got down on one knee and I thought that he was hurt, and then he said, ‘Erin, I don’t know what to say,’ and then I realized what was going on…”

Nowacki said, “Will you marry me?” but it was a blur for the couple.

Gubala added: “I finally did say yes.”

SWAT gear

Chicago Police Officer Erin Gubala with SWAT Sgt. Mike Nowacki got engaged Sunday after Nowacki ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in full gear and reviving another runner. (Chicago Police Department)

“It was definitely a serendipitous moment,” Nowacki said. “Because if I had run a little bit slower or a little bit faster I never would’ve encountered the young lady,” and turning to his fiance, he added, “and then she had to say yes after that.”



The two are planning a “simple” wedding, but Nowacki said he wouldn’t be wearing the SWAT gear on the big day.

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