It was three days before New Year’s Eve in 1993 when police officer Joseph Barca received a call that would change his life.
On Dec. 28, the sergeant on the Yonkers police force answered a call from a family in desperate need of his help. The news? Their baby girl had stopped breathing.
Barca quickly rushed to the family’s apartment and entered to see the father, Mahmoud Hamideh, holding the 2-month-old in his arms, as tears rushed down his face.
Within moments, Barca breathed life back into the child and saved her life.
Fast-forward more than two decades later, the baby, Shammarah Hamideh, is now planning her wedding. On the guest list? The man responsible for saving her life: Barca.
The officer, who is now a police captain in the same force, recalled the details from that evening in a new interview.
He says he flipped her over and “hit her back three or four times sharply,” which forced out mucous lodged in her throat. He began breathing into her mouth and nose until a radio car arrived and rushed her to the hospital.
"By the time she was in the emergency room, she was breathing on her own," he told the Journal News. "The father showed up expecting to hear the worst. I said, 'You hear that baby crying? That's yours.' Then he started crying."
The pair recently reunited at her engagement party, and Shammarah is forever grateful for him.
“He’s so sweet,” said the young woman, who’s set to say “I do” just outside Chicago on Aug. 17. “Every year on my birthday, he sends me a birthday card and check. They treat me like I’m their daughter.”
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