Teachers honored for saving student's life
Working as a team, the three teachers took turns using the school's automated external defibrillator, and practicing CPR techniques. They were soon joined by school nurse Lynn Henry. Coach Smith, who is one of the school district's CPR instructors said she had just worked with East Hamilton's teachers two weeks ago, but none knew they would need the skills so soon.
Joel was rushed to T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital, and was later transferred to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. He recently returned to school, and the assembly gave his family an opportunity to thank the school's life-saving heroes publicly. Joel's grandmother Cindy Hitchcock tearfully told the crowd, "He's my first grandson. If not for you guys, he would not have made it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Joel said he loved his teachers. "I don't know how to repay them," he said. "I'm so glad they have those skills, and I know many students here want to learn them too."
Students also heard from Hamilton County Emergency Services Lt. Tony Sylvester and Public Information Officer Amy Maxwell, who stressed the importance of seeking help when a friend or loved one is unresponsive or unable to breathe.
Several local businesses, including the Bi-Lo store on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road, Chick Fil-A, Massage Envy at Hamilton Place, and Publix on East Brainerd Road donated and awarded gift cards to the teachers, the nurse, and Tony's family. East Hamilton principal Gail Chuy expressed thanks to teachers, students and the local businesses for raising awareness of the importance of learning life saving skills.