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Macon-Bibb Co. firefighter released from rehab center | News

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Macon-Bibb Co. firefighter released from rehab center
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Wednesday was graduation day for one brave Macon-Bibb firefighter, Battalion Chief Stephen Stafford. He's been recovering from injuries sustained in a fire that took the life of a friend and fellow firefighter Lieutenant Randy Parker.

"I was committed, I was not going to leave him alone," said Stafford.

As he battled the blaze, Stafford prayed and repeated the 23rd psalm to himself. "As I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil. Because thou art with me. And at that particular time I felt like I was walking though the valley," he said.

Parker ultimately died, suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. Just four hours earlier both men said they loved one another.

"And just thinking of that always leave a smile on my face," said the nearly 41-year veteran firefighter.

Stafford had smoke inhalation and injuries to the left side of his body. He was airlifted to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, where his wife Sharon and family rushed to his side.

"They had already put him under and it was frightening to see him like that," said Sharon.

Over the next several weeks doctors treated his lungs and put him through physical therapy. He couldn't walk or use his left arm and hand.

"I was thinking, oh man, I'm going through this, and I don't know if this rehab gonna work or not," he said.

But with the help of the medical staff who he calls his dream team, Stafford started showing improvement. He used bars to help walk and occupational therapy to re-gain feeling in his fingers.

"My breathing is excellent, I can walk, I can move my hands, I just got to build the strength back up, it's a strengthening thing now," said Stafford.

With the community, his family and God by his side Stafford said he may have a long way to go, but he's not alone.

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