High school sweethearts on track to retire in their 30s experienced a miracle that changed their ambitious plans.
Instead of retiring, Ada natives Carlyle and Charlotte Gargis said they started a spiritual journey that led to their careers as Salvation Army leaders.
“Basically we kind of retired from the ‘world' and went to work for God,” Charlotte Gargis, 47, said.
The couple, both Salvation Army captains, are the new commanders of the Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Command.
Carlyle Gargis, 50, said he and his wife bought her family's drive-in restaurant business, The Whip Dip in Ada, at a young age, and they hoped to retire by the time he turned 36.
A pregnancy crisis — and divine intervention — interrupted their plans.
On Nov. 10, 1991, Carlyle Gargis drove his pregnant wife to the hospital, fearing for their baby's life. Charlotte Gargis was eight months pregnant and had been doing well until that day, her husband said. Upon arrival at the hospital, she was taken immediately into emergency surgery because of the baby's umbilical cord had prolapsed.
A doctor eventually came out to give Carlyle dire news: There was a strong likelihood either his wife or his unborn child — or both — would die.
Gargis said he believed in God but did not consider himself religious.
Nevertheless, he made his way to the hospital chapel and fell to his knees at the altar. He said he asked the Lord to save both his wife and their baby. He promised God that if He intervened on his family's behalf, he would do whatever the Lord asked of him.
Gargis said he prayed for hours before the doctor came to him in the chapel.
“We've had a miracle!” the physician told the anxious husband.
The doctor told Gargis his wife made it through an emergency Caesarean surgery, but the baby had not seemed to fare as well.
The doctor told Gargis he had turned away from the infant to write her time of death when she dramatically took a breath.
Gargis, his eyes welling up with tears as he talked to a reporter, said he still gets emotional when he remembers walking out of the hospital as the proud father of a new baby daughter and husband of an exhausted but very much alive wife.
“I said, ‘Lord, I could have walked out of here with no wife and no daughter. You saved them both,'” Gargis said.
“Everything changed in my life. I wept for the next two weeks.”