On December 28, 1993, then-Sgt. Joseph Barca of Yonkers saved the life of a two-month-old baby on their way to the hospital. More than 20 years later, he watched that same girl on her way down the aisle for her wedding day in Chicago.
Barca was on the receiving end of an emergency house call from the Hamideh family when their daughter Shammarah suddenly stopped breathing, just blocks away from where he was patrolling. On their way to the emergency room, he performed CPR until her throat was cleared, and she was breathing on her own at the time of arrival.
Since that day, Barca—who rose through the ranks to captain—and his wife, Helen, have kept in touch with the Hamideh family, even after the family moved to Buffalo. He may not have been physically present for all of Shammarah’s life milestones, but he made sure to send birthday cards and Christmas cards every year.
Courtesy of The City Of Yonkers Police Department
Recently, however, Barca was there for one of Shammarah’s biggest milestones—her wedding day.
On August 17, Shammarah—a nursing school graduate—married truck driver Mohammad Salah, and plans to move to Chicago. For Barca, saving the young woman’s life was a “career-defining moment,” according to CBS News. Which is definitely saying something—as Barca had a 45-year career on the Yonkers police force, during which he helped rescue victims of the 9/11 attacks.
While Shammarah was making her wedding vows, Barca was honoring his own vow—to remain an important part of her life even years after that day in December.