Grieving Mother, Firefighter Create 'A Forever Bond' After OKC Bombing

Friday, April 24th 2020, 10:19 am

An iconic image changed the lives of Aren Almon and firefighter Chris Fields. Now it's formed a bond that's 25 years strong.

"A good friendship. It's a really good friendship," said Fields.

The friendship between Chris and Aren started on the worst day of both of their lives.

While responding to the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, as an Oklahoma City firefighter, Fields was handed a lifeless 1-year-old baby.

"I'm just standing there looking at her thinking 'somebody's world is getting ready to be turned upside-down,'" he said.

That somebody was Aren, and that baby was her first-born, Baylee. It was a gut-wrenching moment that soon would be on a very public display.

"They will do a story about all the kids that were killed. They will say, 'so-and-so liked fire trucks and playing with stuff.' But they always just said Baylee was the baby in the fireman's arms," Almon said.

"She was a real person. She liked going to her cousin's baseball games, and she liked playing. She was starting to walk. She could talk. She was a real person," she added.

Baylee would have turned 26 on April 18.

"I'm doing better, but I don't think I've healed because I don't think I'll ever not mourn her," Almon said.

Fields said the fire department's spokesperson at the time, Jon Hensen, helped him.

But Fields and Almon also help each other. They see each other several times every year.

And over the years, Almon helped to pass Baylee's Law to make daycares and federal buildings safer with shatterproof glass. She's also had two more children.

"Bella and Broox never got to meet her, but if you ask how many siblings they have, they will both say, 'two,'" Almon said.

Fields has retired and now speaks to other first-responders dealing with PTSD.

"If that event hadn't happened in my life and taken me down the road I went to, which wasn't a very pretty road, then I wouldn't be the father and the husband and the friend that I am today to people," he said.

Through pain and grief, both have grown. And in a time when there is so much of that in the world right now, they offer a unique perspective.

"I was lucky that I had such a good family, and they were there for me," Almon said.

"The one thing I learned is not to take every day for granted. Every day is a blessing," Fields said. 


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