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Yonkers Police Captain Attends Wedding Of Woman He Saved 20 Years Ago

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Decades after saving a baby girl, a captain with the Yonkers Police Department followed through on a promise to see her walk down the aisle.

In December 1993, Capt. Joseph Barca, who was then a sergeant, responded to a call at a home in Yonkers where little Shammara Hamideh was clinging to life.

“I remember my mother yelling from the top of her lungs for my father: ‘Shama! Shama! Shama! She is not breathing, she’s choking!’ Lifeless,” Hamideh’s older brother, Ahmad, said.

“I took the child from the parents and checked for vital signs. Found none,” Barca said. “I jumped into the backseat of the car with the baby, still doing CPR for the ride to the hospital.”

By the time she got to the hospital, the little girl was breathing on her own.

Barca had saved her life.

“Her dad expected to hear the worst from me,” Barca said. “And I said to him, ‘Do you hear that baby crying?’ And he said ‘Yeah.’ And I said, ‘That’s your baby crying’, and he just broke down from there.”

Barca and his wife Helen never lost touch with Hamideh and her family, even after they moved to Buffalo.

“He’s like a second father, he’s not just a friend or a hero, he’s family,” Hamideh said. “Every year they’ve never missed by birthday, and for Christmas they always send a card and a check and a letter. They’re just so sweet. It’s the thought that counts really.”

Barca always promised to see her walk down the aisle on her wedding day and he did just that on Sunday.

Hamideh recently graduated from nursing school and hopes to follow in Barca’s footsteps.

“It makes me want to save peoples lives just like he saved my life,” she said. “Maybe I can be in someone’s life in twenty years later, just as he was.”

Barca plans to retire next year after 45 years on the police force.

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