Thanks to some alert East Hamilton Middle/High School teachers and the school nurse, eighth grader Joel Ervin is alive and in school with his friends. Last month, Joel collapsed in the gym and went into a seizure-like state, and became unresponsive. He credits some East Hamilton heroes with his recovery.
Coaches Bailey Reeves, Holly Smith and Ryan Cooper were first on the scene when Joel passed out in PE class on Aug. 15.
The teachers used the school's automated external defibrillator (AED), and used CPR on Joel. School nurse Lynn Henry arrived and helped arrange further treatment. Coach Smith, who is a school district CPR instructor had just worked with her school’s teachers two weeks ago, so the lessons were fresh on their mind.
Joel was rushed to Children's Hospital in Chattanooga, and was later flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. At a school-wide assembly, his grandmother Cindy Hitchcock told the school’s staff, "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 would give them everything if I could," he said. "I'm so fortunate to go to school here."
Hamilton County Emergency Services Lt. Tony Sylvester and Public Information Officer Amy Maxwell, talked to students about the importance of seeking help and contacting a teacher when they see someone struggling to breathe.
News anchor David Carroll arranged the program, and contacted 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 to donate and award gift cards to the nurse, teachers and Tony's family. East Hamilton Principal Gail Chuy expressed thanks to everyone involved for shining the spotlight on her heroic staff members, and teaching students the basics of life-saving skills.