Paramedics aren’t known for having a glamorous job; in fact, the opposite is usually true. It can be stressful, harrowing, and often heartbreaking, so when Emily McKenzie was called to a cardiac arrest emergency, she naturally feared the worst. What she found on arrival, though, would change her life forever.
The day started like any other for McKenzie, who hails from Reno, Nevada. She responded to calls, gave medical attention to patients and generally went about her usual routine.
Just as she was about to end her shift, McKenzie received one final call. “It wouldn’t be a Friday without a late call,” she remarked as she drove towards what sounded like a serious medical emergency.
She’d been told that a man had gone into cardiac arrest at a country club, so she raced to the scene to help. On the way, she tried lightening the mood by saying she’d hoped it was something she could have turned the sirens on for – after all, it was all in a day’s work for a paramedic.
Nevertheless, McKenzie already had suspicions that something was different about this call, noting that “usually they’ll tell us a little bit more.” But she couldn’t have expected what was to come.
When she arrived at the club, she found a group of firefighters crowded around the patient, who was laying on the floor. One of the firefighters filled in McKenzie on the details as she began preparing her equipment.
According to the firefighter, the victim had been setting up for an event to be held later that evening when he suddenly collapsed to the ground. She rushed over to the patient and took out her resuscitation apparatus.
She moved towards the man, who at this point was showing no indications of life. And that’s when McKenzie realized there was something very odd about the person she’d been called out to rescue.
The victim was really a mannequin dressed in a plaid shirt – and the firefighter next to McKenzie was actually her boyfriend, Nik Raw. She had been so focused on doing her job that she hadn’t even noticed.
At this point, McKenzie still hadn’t quite put two and two together. This made what happened next all the better for Raw.
He stood up and greeted McKenzie… before dropping to one knee, pulling out a ring and popping the all-important question. “Will you marry me?” he asked.
At the time, she was wearing a bodycam, which helpfully caught everything on video – including her teary affirmation that yes, she would of course marry Raw. It was an emotional moment, but it wasn’t over yet.
As the firefighting crew clapped and cheered the happy couple, another surprise was about to be sprung on McKenzie. The room divider suddenly opened.
It turned out that all her friends and family had been waiting on the other side of the partition, ready to jump out. They were there to help the couple begin the celebrations immediately.
The event that the room had been set up for was actually Raw and McKenzie’s engagement party. The couple’s friends and relatives had brought banners, cards and signs to add an extra touch to the décor.
Raw is a Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District firefighter-paramedic, while McKenzie is a REMSA paramedic, so it’s clear that the caring Northern Nevada pair have a lot in common. It certainly made Raw’s method of proposing all the more fitting.
Proposals can be a tricky thing to get right, but it’s obvious from McKenzie’s reaction that Raw handled it superbly. And, most importantly, she didn’t see the surprise coming at all.
The couple were engaged on October 2, 2015, with the wedding date set for November 5, 2016. After their engagement party, the massive gathering of family and friends posed with the happy couple in front of the fire truck and ambulance.
McKenzie couldn’t possibly have known what was going to happen when she responded to that call back in October. But with just four short words, Raw managed to change her life forever – in the most romantic way possible.
It’s no secret that life as a paramedic can be fraught with stress, anxiety, and intense situations. So it’s heart-warming to see the obvious happiness of a loving, caring couple who have both given so much to their community.