Narrowing down your wedding guest list is a tough task. So when bride-to-be Shammarah Hamideh was selecting her final group of invitees, she knew one special man had to make the final cut: Captain Joseph Barca. Next weekend Hamideh will marry fiancé Mohammed Salah, but had it not been for the bravery of Barca two decades ago, the 20-year-old would not be here to walk down the aisle.
In 1993, Barca, who has been a member of the Yonkers Police Department for 44 years, responded to an emergency call where he found an unresponsive two-month-old girl. Quickly realizing the infant had stopped breathing, Barca performed CPR on Hamideh as the traveled to a local hospital. ABC News reports that by the time they arrived at the emergency room, the infant was breathing on her own again.
Ever since that harrowing day, the Hamideh family has remained close to Barca, his wife, Helen, and their three sons. "Her father said years ago that he gave her life the first time and I gave her life the second time," Bara told ABC. "That's the way they've been treating me ever since."
So it's no surprise that when Hamideh got engaged, she instinctively called Barca to share the happy news. "I consider him a second father," Hamideh said. Barca has celebrated birthdays, holidays, and even Hamideh's engagement party (seen above).
The veteran officer even went so far as to arrange his vacation schedule so he would be available to travel from New York to Chicago to see Hamideh marry her soon-to-be-husband. "I'm looking forward more so than just being an invited guests," Bara said. "Even though we haven't seen each other much, we feel that attachment."
It sounds like it will be a happy day for everyone involved!