Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - October 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
LISD Teacher…”Shock of a lifetime”
Houston County Courier - October 2009
By Crystal Rhone
On Friday, Sept 18, 44 year old Rhonda Gardner, went to school like every other day.
She felt fine, until around 9 a.m. in her second period fifth grade math class she started feeling light headed. She proceeded to keep teaching but the pain was unbearable. She collapsed in her chair.
Two students from her class immediately noticed something was wrong and ran outside the classroom to get Julie Hay, the Lovelady Elementary Math Interventionist, and dial 911.
Mrs. Hay proceeded to place Mrs. Gardner on the floor. “It just looked like she fainted,” said Mrs. Hay.
Mrs. Hay told the students to exit the room. She told the kids to get help and grab the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator.
The two students ran to the school nurse, Winnie McKnight, telling her something was wrong with Mrs. Gardner, she collapsed.
Then Mrs. Gardner suddenly stopped breathing and had no pulse. The teachers stood by in shock that one of their teachers had possibly died right here in the class.
Mrs. Hay followed the directions that were given to her by the AED machine.
Mrs. Hay attached the AED to Mrs. Gardner, and let the machine do its job.
Lovelady Volunteer Fire Department/First Responders made it to the school within two minutes of Houston County Sheriffs Office dispatching them to the scene.
Although the teachers, students and staff did what they were supposed to do, if ever this were to occur, it was now time to step back and let the Lovelady First Responders take control of the scene until ETMC EMS Crockett arrived.
ETMC EMS transported Mrs. Gardner to ETMC Tyler.
LISD Superintendent John Reynolds said, “At the end of the day, the emotions started rolling in.”
“We always thought the AED would never be used here at LISD. But that little machine, saved a teacher’s life.”
“The rough day turned out to be a good day.” said Lovelady Elementary/Middle School Principal.
Mrs. Gardner, who had no previous medical problems, that would normally cause such an episode, returned to work five days later after her unforgettable experience that would change her life forever.
ETMC EMS Southern Regional director Roy Langford presented LISD staff and LVFD with an award in their honor for proper use of an AED and life saving techniques to save the life of a teacher.
Mrs. Gardner’s husband, Charles Gardner, the operational supervisor at the Houston County Electric Co-op has placed 10 AED’s in every truck of his workers.
Mrs. Gardner thanks the staff, students at LISD, and the Lovelady Volunteer Fire Department/First Responders ETMC EMS.