CANTON, Ga-- Little girls think their dads can solve every problem, heal every bruised knee, comfort any hurt. Sara Walker captured a single moment when the roles were reversed.
Five-year-old Emily was dressed in scrubs, holding her dad's hand singing "Let it go" from Disney's Frozen. A memorable moment after a terrifying day.
"At 1:09 on July 10th, I received a phone call that changed my life forever," Sara Walker told 11Alive's Julie Wolfe.
Walker's husband, Steve, is a Georgia Trooper and a regular at the Bridge Mill Fitness Center. A woman from the gym told Sara her husband was "on the floor" at the gym and she should get there as quickly as possible. She packed up her daughter and raced to the gym. She expected to be able to talk to her husband and ask him what happened. Instead, he was lying on the floor.
"I wasn't prepared for that at all. I saw my lifeless husband lying on the floor," she said. "I'll never be able to get this picture out of my head. I got pretty hysterical." The paramedics told her he had a heartbeat, but wasn't breathing regularly.
"Then I started getting the story of what happened and all the people that helped save a great husband and daddy," she said.
One of the strangers, Kevin Gallagher, wrote a letter to Steve about what happened. He was in the aerobics room when he saw Steve laid out on the floor. He thought Steve was stretching, but went to make sure.
"I saw your face and I knew instantly something was very wrong. Your face was blue and purple and it was apparent that you had not been breathing for a while," Gallagher wrote.
He screamed to call 911, then sprinted to get the AED. Another woman working out, Judy Cox, said she needed to dry Steve's chest before she could operate the AED. Another sman took his shirt off and offered it up to use as a towel. The machine shocked Steve once, but he continued to have issues breathing. The second time the group used the AED it said no shock was needed, but CPR was. When paramedics arrived, they relieved Judy's CPR efforts.
Two of the strangers that saved Steve had met him before that day. He pulled Kevin over after he rolled through a stop sign. "Well, Mr. Gallagher, it looks like you are not wanted by the FBI! And we both laughed... I kept thinking how incredibly nice this officer was. Not something you would expect when you get pulled over," Kevin wrote in that letter to Steve.
Judy also met Steve during the 4th of July weekend. Steve gave up his chair at the pool so Judy and her sons could have a place to sit.
"I think you have left angels with everyone you have touched out of your sincere generosity and kindness. God has said it is not your time yet, you have more good work to do on this earth! I have been praying every day that you survive."
Steve did survive and is on the road to recovery. Sara said he's in speech therapy to help with some short term memory loss and starts cardiac rehab this week.
"I will never be able to repay those people and I will be forever grateful. I'm really at a loss for words about the whole incident. I never thought I would be strong enough to get through something like this, but with the power of prayer, amazing support from family and friends, we are pulling through."