Christopher and Jamie Lynn Sparkman have every right to be mad. But they’re not.
“We don’t feel like we were picked on,” Jamie Lynn said Friday. “We feel like we were picked out.”
Less than four months after being critically injured in a mass shooting at the FedEx facility near Kennesaw, Christopher Sparkman returned Friday to the place where he and his wife were forced to spend their first wedding anniversary: WellStar Kennestone Hospital.
The Sparkmans returned to the hospital to thank the medical team at an awards event for hospital staff. The couple also thanked those around the world who prayed for Christopher’s recovery.
But above all, it was the chance for the couple to show its determination to heal, and in the end, be even stronger.
On April 29, Sparkman was working as a security guard at the FedEx facility when he was shot multiple times at point-blank range by a 19-year-old, later identified as Geddy Kramer. Five others were also injured, but Sparkman’s injuries were the most severe. He underwent several surgeries before being released from the hospital in July.
And he’s still not fully recovered.
“I’m not eating yet, so I’ll be back here for more surgery in December or January,” Christopher said.
He could easily be angry for being targeted by the shooter, who later took his own life. But instead, he is grateful.
“Every day is a battle,” he said. “Even making it to the hospital alive in the first place.”
Christopher says he’s also grateful to his wife, who has been by his side throughout his ordeal. Christopher even schemed with nurses to plan an anniversary surprise in the hospital for Jamie Lynn.
“He had all of it planned in his mind,” Kevin Rhodeback, a Kennestone nurse, said Friday. “He even knew what kind of cake he wanted.”
Once he is done with surgeries, Christopher plans to pursue his goal of becoming an air traffic controller. The Army veteran said he had an offer to work for the FAA before he was injured. He plans to get in touch again with the FAA.
Until then, the Sparkmans say they’ve been blessed, and they mean it. When asked what he’d like everyone to know, Christopher didn’t hesitate.
“Thank you, more than anything else,” Christopher said. “Thank you for your prayers.”