CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Jeff Creel was fallen officer Chris Oberheim’s partner that night he was killed; Creel was shot three times. This life-altering event doesn’t define him.

Through his faith and healing journey Creel gained another family, the Oberheim’s. He had never met Amber or her four daughters before.

“Chris talked about them all time,” said Creel. “He loved his girls and his wife. We talked about them all the time. He was the softball coach of the world.  

He met them shortly after Oberheim died. He said it was an important part of his healing journey and to pay respect’s to Oberheim.

“There’s never been nothing but grace and love from that family,” said Creel.

Meeting them was just as healing for Oberheim’s daughters.

“We didn’t have to be there that night, we didn’t have to see what he saw, we didn’t have to defend my dad in the way that he did, so he definitely took off a huge burden for us, and he also made it so we didn’t have to go through a trial, we didn’t have to sit and go through all of the trauma that brings,” said Hannah Oberheim.

“Jeff had said something along the lines of like, ‘It’s not my job to question God,’ or something like that and I was like wow, if he has gone through what he has gone through and he said that, that’s something that has stuck with me,” said Aubree Oberheim.

“That has influenced me to not give up hope in any situation and to continue to have faith even given everything that happened,” said Avery Oberheim.

“I think my dad would be, well, is extremely grateful for him and the ways that he has stepped up for us,” said Addison Oberheim.

Creel even danced with Hannah on her wedding day, during the father-daughter dance.

“I’m glad she let me do that,” said Creel.

“If I could ask my dad right now, he would choose jeff, just because of the way he defended him,” said Hannah Oberheim.