Cop Who Saved Infant's Life 20 Years Ago Watches Her Walk Down The Aisle

September 18, 2014

A Police Captain attended a wedding in Chicago to see the young woman he saved 20 years ago walk down the aisle.

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A clipping from a Yonkers newspaper

In 1993, Captain Joseph Barca saved Shammah Hamideh on the front steps of the family's home in Yonkers, New York. He performed CPR on the lifeless infant until the air was back in her lungs.

"Major details of that day are stuck in my head pretty firmly because they were so life-changing," Barca said, recalling how the baby's arms and legs dangled limp and lifeless.

Barca slapped the baby's back a few times, cleared mucus blocking her airway, began CPR and accompanied the baby to the hospital when paramedics arrived.

In the ambulance, Barca continued to pump the little girl's heart with his fingers.

"As we were approaching the hospital, I could feel the baby starting to come back to life," Barca told CBS News in New York. "Any time you can save a life it's a great feeling, but this was very crucially a little 2-month-old baby."

Barca remembers when her distraught father arrived at the hospital.

"The father showed up expecting to hear the worst," Barca told the Journal News in Westchester, NY. "I said, 'You hear that baby crying? That's yours.' Then he started crying."

A few months after that day, the Hamidehs invited Barca and his family to a dinner. Even after the Hamidehs left Yonkers, Barca kept in touch with them.

"He has never once forgotten my birthday," Hamideh said. "He's so sweet. ... They treat me like I'm their daughter."

Hamideh learned of the cop's life-saving actions years later when her mother showed her a video of a news story from the television. Barca, who raised three boys with his wife Helen, is now a captain in the Yonkers Police Department and he plans to retire in January after 45 years on the job.

Hamideh, who is marrying Mohammed Salah, a truck driver, on Sunday, recently graduated from nursing school. She hopes to start a family and embark on a nursing career in the Chicago area.

To her, Barca is a second father. And the wedding touches his heart because he never had a daughter he could walk down the aisle.

"Her father over the years has always referred to me as her American dad," Barca said. "He said he gave her life the first time, and I gave her life the second time."

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