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Family of gravely injured Milwaukee police officer plans final act of service

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Posted at 9:33 AM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-06 10:33:47-05

OAK CREEK — The family of a gravely injured Milwaukee Police Department officer are planning one final act of service.

Jimmy Nowak was off-duty Sunday night when his car hit a semi-truck near Oak Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Oak Creek.

Friends and family said they found out this morning that Nowak is in the surgical intensive care unit on a ventilator. We're told his heart is still beating, but he has very little brain function.

His family wrote, "Jimmy would have wanted to help other people because he was a giving guy and very loving, so we decided to donate his organs to save other lives."

"Jimmy was just a beautiful, wonderful, happy soul. Like I said before, if you knew him and didn't like him, there was something wrong with you," Stephanie Gregory said.

Gregory's a friend of the Nowak's and said she's been neighbors with Jimmy Nowak's wife's father for years.

"All around good guy. Good police officer, good friend, a good family member, a good husband," Dean Bratel said.

Bratel's cousins with Jimmy Nowak's wife. He said he and Nowak used to work out together and he was always there making Bratel laugh.

Both Bratel and Gregory said they're still in shock after Sunday's horrific accident.

For the last two days, family said doctors have been doing tests on Nowak's organs. Soon, doctors will take out his breathing tubes and operate to save his organs for donation.

"I think things like this and these gestures add a little and show a little love they so need right now," Gregory said referencing the tribute for Nowak on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A cross stands tall on the corner, where the accident happened, draped in a thin blue line flag. Flowers have piled up over the course of the day from people coming to pay their respects.

A tribute that was all too familiar for Nowak.

In February, Milwaukee Police Officer Peter Jerving was shot and killed in the line of duty. He'd been Nowak's partner for the last four years.

Something family said Nowak was still processing.

"They were best friends and not only partners for four years. I believe Jerving was a police officer for four years and all four years Jimmy was his partner," Bratel said.

Two friends who served and protected and gave their all to family, friends, and the entire southeast Wisconsin community.

Tuesday night, questions still surround Sunday's accident.

We know the driver of the semi-truck is cooperating with police, however, on Pennsylvania Avenue where the incident happened, signs are posted that prohibit semi-trucks.

The company of the tractor-trailer involved did not return calls seeking comment.

Loved ones of the Nowak's have set up a GoFund Me to help with medical and funeral expenses when the time comes.