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  • May 8, 2020
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CHICAGO — An Illinois National Guard corporal who rescued an unconscious woman from a submerged car this summer had a pretty special Veterans Day at Soldier Field. Not only did Nathan Peter Jennings receive the state’s Medal of Valor during halftime of Sunday’s Bears game, but he also saw Chicago take down the Detroit Lions, 34-22.

Before all that, though, Jennings had another big moment. He proposed to his girlfriend in the first quarter.

The team caught the proposal on its Bear Hug cam. Sorta. Unfortunately, Jennings popped the question to his now-fiancée — yes, she accepted — as the Bears were making a big play. Fans in the section — not a romantic one in the bunch — rose to their feet to cheer on their Bears, blocking the touching occasion going on right next to them.

Jennings, a broker for U.S. Energy Company in Itasca, received the Illinois Medal of Valor for his efforts in August when he pulled Joanna Girmshied from a retention pond near Interstate 90 in Huntley after her car overturned and sunk into the water. He was one of 11 people who helped save the 26-year-old woman.

“This weird calmness took over,” said Jennings, an intelligence expert who is part of a Bloomington-based National Guard unit. “One of the other guys there even said, ‘Man, you were so calm.’ I think the military training does help you keep your head in emergencies.”

The Chicago Bears run onto the field during player introductions before their Sunday, Nov. 11, game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel | Getty Images)

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