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One year later, #SparkmanStrong | News

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One year later, #SparkmanStrong
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KENNESAW, Ga. -- Just before dawn, a quiet April morning was shattered by gunfire. We would come to know the young man behind the gun as Geddy Kramer.

The troubled 19-year-old FedEx worker stormed the Kennesaw facility with a shotgun. He shoot six of his co-workers before turning the gun on himself.

It is often the case that the shooter becomes known. Their name becomes synonymous with the terror tied to their awful acts.

But in this case, it was not Kramer whose name would stay on our lips. It was Security guard Christopher Sparkman.

The 911 tapes from that day include calls for help from him and his co-workers:

"I've been shot in the gut, left side abdomen."

"Please hurry. Please god hurry. I do not want to die."

"He's so pale. Please hurry. He's so young."

In the year since the shooting, while those injured by Kramer recovered, Sparkman struggled with setback after setback. He was a newlywed at the time of the shooting. He had had met his wife at church. The vows Christopher and Jamie Lynn made to one another were quickly tested in ways neither could have imagined.

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"There are no words to describe what it's like to be with someone who has gone through 34 surgeries. Words won't do it justice," she said.

Through thirty-four surgeries, through medically induced comas, through community fundraisers, Sparkman fought to try to return to the vibrant, happily married 28-year-old man he'd been.

"I never thought someone could go thru so much pain," his wife said.

He is not healed. Doctors must wait a year before attempting to patch a leak in his colon.

On Monday, two days shy of the one year anniversary, Christopher Sparkman left the hospital. It's a real and symbolic step forward, away from that day. He is home, trying to recover some of what's been lost.

What can we say about a young man -- who got up and got dressed and went to his job, never thinking life as he knew it would change at a few minutes before 6:00 am on a beautiful day?

Sparkman's wife says it best with what she wrote of his homecoming:

"We're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace."

On Wednesday, Apr. 29, the anniversary of the shooting, nearly 40 Georgia Chick-fil-A restaurants will hold a fundraiser for the Sparkman family. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., participating locations will donate at least 10 percent of sales to Chris and Jamie Lynn Sparkman.

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