women honored for saving child's life
November 16, 2008 | SMITHFIELD -- What constitutes
a hero? Well, much to their embarrassment, that's exactly
what Chief of Police Johnny W. McCoy called three city
residents when he presented them each with a Citizen
Award at the City Council meeting Wednesday night.
Jolene Low, Delia Loosle and Jamie Poulsen were all
credited with saving the life of a student, Riley Carpenter,
at Sunrise Elementary.
Carpenter, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, stopped
breathing while at the school. The three women, two
of whom are aides, the other a life skills teacher,
were able to resuscitate Carpenter while they waited
for the paramedics to arrive.
"I'm just very thrilled that they were there and that
they kicked in and knew what to do and they stepped
up to the plate and did it, and did an excellent job,"
principal Kathy Toolson said. "I'm just really proud
of all of them."
After receiving the award in front of many family
and friends, the trio quickly left the meeting. Afterward
they were all appreciative but insisted they didn't
do anything special.
"We are trained, and that's what we're there to do
is to help these little guys and our training just kicked
in," Low said. "It's not heroic at all."
Poulsen made the 911 call as well as contacting Carpenter's
"Our job is to keep them safe," she said.
The group said they first became alarmed when they
noticed Carpenter's face begin to change color as she
struggled for air. As they worked to get her breathing
back to normal, it stopped altogether.
"She all of the sudden stopped breathing, just all
the color drained from her face and she slumped forward
in her chair," Loosle said. "At that point I took her
out and started CPR."
McCoy said if it were not for the quick actions of
the trio, Carpenter would not have made it.
"They responded so quickly and so effectively, literally
they saved little Riley's life," he said. "That's an
important quality of true heroes, they act without anticipation
of any glory, any recognition. They saw what needed
to be done and they just responded with that whole focus
in mind that Riley needed their help, and I applaud