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A news clipping from when then-Sgt. Joseph Barca was honored for saving the baby's life. / Courtesy Yonkers police

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A young Palestinian-American nursing school graduate in Buffalo and a career police officer from Yonkers ordinarily might not have much in common.

But fate brought the two together 20 years ago, after 2-month-old Shammarah Hamideh went limp and stopped breathing. It was then-Sgt. Joseph Barca who arrived first outside the apartment building where the father stood crying with a lifeless baby in his arms. Barca cleared an airway obstruction and breathed life back into her on the way to the hospital.

On Aug. 17, Hamideh will be married outside Chicago. Barca and his wife, Helen, will be there.

"He's so sweet," Hamideh said by phone Thursday. "He's very considerate - every year on my birthday, he sends me a birthday card and check. They treat me like I'm their daughter."

"Her parents refer to me as her American father," said Barca, a captain who has three children - one schoolteacher and two Yonkers police officers.

He remembers Dec. 28, 1993, clearly.

"This is one job you don't forget about," Barca said.

He sped to the scene after the call went out about a baby not breathing.

After taking the baby from her father, Mahmoud Hamideh, he began resuscitation - but knew after two breaths the air wasn't getting to her lungs.

Barca flipped the baby over, and hit her back three or four times sharply. Out flew a wad of mucous.

Barca began breathing into the girl's mouth and nose again, and kept her blood flowing by pumping two fingers into her chest.

A radio car arrived and sped the two to a hospital.

"By the time she was in the emergency room, she was breathing on her own," Barca said

Mahmoud Hamideh arrived shortly after.

"The father showed up expecting to hear the worst," Barca said.

"I said, 'You hear that baby crying? That's yours.' Then he started crying."

Shammarah Hamideh plans to marry Mohammed Salah, a truck driver.

She plans to apply for nursing jobs in the Chicago area.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Cop to see tot he saved in '94 become a bride

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