COLLEGE PARK, Ga. - A College Park firefighter and medic defied the odds after being shot 14 times and being told by doctors he would not be able to work again.
“Getting back to this point is almost unheard of and I wish I could think of the words to express how happy I am,” said College Park Firefighter Eddie Baker.
Eddie Baker’s neighbor, Taylor Carthern shot him several times outside his College Park home in December of 2014. Carthern is serving a 20-year sentence.
Baker said the bullets hit him in the chest, spine and arm and he suffered a broken femur, shoulder, jaw, seven broken fingers along with tendon damage resulting in 10 surgeries. Doctors told Baker he would not be able to return to work.
“I would always ask is there ever going to be a chance where I will be able to get back to the fire department and they always told me no and it was heartbreaking every single time,” said Baker.
The 11-year veteran would not take no for an answer, crediting his faith, co-workers and family, including his now 11-year-old daughter with encouraging him to fight.
“She always thought that I was going to be able to come back and she would tell me everyday, 'you know I’m sick of you sitting around here, its time to get up and do your exercises,'” said Baker.
Baker went through two rigorous years of rehab and had to learn how to walk again. After two years of difficult work and perseverance, he was able to come back to the firehouse.
“He is the crazy one of the crew, once he got back he just stepped right back into that role,” said fellow firefighter and longtime friend, Orlando Gray.
While Baker was gone, he never missed a paycheck thanks to the support from the city.
“Everyone donated probably over two years of vacation time to him, so he did not miss a check while he was out,” said College Park Fire Chief Wade Elmore. “He is a model employee, so I would say he means a whole lot to us.”
Baker said he is overwhelmed by the support he has received and is thrilled to be back doing what he loves, a job he has had a passion for since he was a little boy.
“Everything we do around here is with love, especially for each other and the comradery is amazing,” said Baker.
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