|Cpl. Dan Michalski and his fiancee Joanna Pluc and her son Alexander, 3, after Pluc accepted Cpl. Michalski's marriage proposal at sunset on Naples Pier on Feb. 3.|
A Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputy put his heart on the line in a bid to win his girlfriend’s hand in marriage and the top prize in a local contest.
Cpl. Daniel Michalski, 36, successfully carried out his surprise proposal to his girlfriend Joanna Pluc, 29, on Friday at sunset at Naples Pier.
Now Cpl. Michalski is waiting to learn if his proposal was the perfect one.
He is one of five finalists vying for a chance to win a $5,000 engagement ring from Dunkin’s Diamonds in NBC-2’s Perfect Proposal Challenge. Contestants submitted written entries stating their idea for a perfect proposal that they want to actually do.
All this week NBC is featuring videos of the finalists carrying out their proposals. One video will be broadcast each day at 6:20 a.m. during “NBC-2 News Today.” The videos are also being published on the station’s website http://www.nbc-2.com/.
Cpl. Michalski’s proposal aired Tuesday. Click here to watch his proposal, or go to
The winning proposal will be chosen by viewers. Starting Friday and continuing through Monday, viewers can cast their votes online on the NBC-2 website, said “NBC-2 News Today” anchor Heather Turco. The grand prize winner will be announced Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, she said.
More than 80 entries were received. Turco and her co-anchor Clay Miller selected the five finalists. Cpl. Michalski’s entry, Turco said, stood out.
“I liked that it was at a local landmark at sunset and that he was in law enforcement,” she said.
Cpl. Michalski said he had been planning on proposing to Pluc, a City of Naples emergency dispatcher, within a month when he heard about the NBC-2 contest. He submitted his entry, never thinking he’d actually win.
“I thought no way would they pick a guy like me to be a finalist for something like this. I’m not that lucky,” said Cpl. Michalski, a 12-year CCSO veteran who is currently a road patrol deputy assigned to the sheriff’s East Naples district.
He said he was all ready to head out and buy an engagement ring when he got the call from the TV station that he was a finalist in the contest.
Then came the hard part: Coming up with a ruse to get Pluc to the pier without her suspecting anything. The couple, who had been dating a little more than a year, had been talking about getting married, he said.
Cpl. Michalski said he enlisted the help of one of Pluc’s sisters. The sister, who is getting married, told Pluc she needed her at the pier at sunset for some test photos for her wedding.
When Pluc arrived at the pier at the designated time instead she found Cpl. Michalski dressed in full uniform waiting with a dozen red roses, along with her parents, two sisters and her 3-year-old son Alexander.
“I dropped to one knee and I told her, ‘I won the lottery of life and I won the lottery of love; I want to know if you will marry me,” Cpl. Michalski recalled.
Pluc said yes as a crowd of well-wishers clapped and cheered. The couple took a brief stroll along the pier where they were met by more cheering and clapping.
Win or lose the contest, Cpl. Michalski said, “This is a proposal we’ll never forget.”