JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- He stepped up to help a stranger getting mugged. As a result, Sailor Brett Parks wound up shot in the stomach from point blank range. He's been in the hospital hooked up to machines ever since.
Now, Action News has learned exclusively -- a band of sisters is stepping up to make sure his wife Susan gets all the support she needs.
Monday, Brett had to have his leg amputated because of an infection. He also had his final stomach surgery this week. He is now alert and the breathing tubes have been removed. There's still a long road ahead. But his wife Susan no longer has to go it alone.
He's a father, a husband, and a true hero. The 33-year-old has been in the hospital for weeks now, fighting for his own life.
"To be alone and think your entire world is just taken from you," Susan told Action News as she fought back tears.
Susan has remained by his side ever since. But she can't put her life on hold. They have a young son and a baby girl on the way. That's when fellow Navy wife Nikki Cooper knew it was time to step up.
"We're each other's support system, whether our husbands are deployed or not, we're each other's help, we're each others backbone. We're all each other has," she said.
She says not once has Susan asked for help coping with an unthinkable tragedy. But little did she know, there was a whole sisterhood waiting in the wings.
"We have set up a spreadsheet with names and emails and phone numbers where people that want to participate in helping out, whether it's delivering meals, babysitting, we can take turns helping so it's not all just on one person. "
Most of the wives have never even met Susan. Nikki says that speaks volumes for how strong the military bond is. And together, they're going to help Susan get through it because Brett already proved he would do whatever it takes, too.
"I can just imagine what she's going through right now. What she's thinking. How she's feeling," she said. "We have to be there for her. No matter what."
You can make donations through a website that has been setup to help Brett's family with expenses