Michael Walter Gula was born in May 23, 1943, and joined the OPP on October 10, 1967. He had twenty-nine years service and was ready to turn in his warrant card for the one that has "retired" stamped across it. He spent eighteen years working out of the St. Catharines OPP Detachment, with occasional stints of summer duty at Grand Bend. The officer whose detachment commander called "a touch of sunshine" came to the Niagara OPP office in 1985.
At work he was called with respect "King of the Highway". It was an apt title, for Mike has spent most of his working life keeping busy highways safe and well policed.
On April 2, 1996 while patrolling the Queen Elizabeth Way northbound in Niagara Falls. Constable Gula observed another highway cruiser stopped with a female motorist. He stopped and activated his roof lights to complement those of the other cruiser. Suddenly, as Gula stood on the shoulder of the road talking to the other officer through the car window, a sport utility truck struck him from behind. The officer was thrown against the cruiser and then projected into the passing lane of busy highway. The other officer dragged him clear off the road. The offending vehicle took off without stopping. Constable Gula was taken to hospital where he died of a broken neck and massive internal injuries.
Mike had earned the Police Exemplary Service Medal in addition to his Long Service Award. A plaque honours him at the Niagara detachment office. Mike had applied for retirement and his last day of work would have been in five months time on October 31, 1996.
It was estimated that twelve hundred police from across the continent came to the funeral held in St. Catharines. Mike is survived by his wife and four grown up children.