story and photos
by James Brady
Ok folks… so let me set the scene…Picture a small hometown school over a river and train tracks, up a winding road on a side hill and you may well be at the Sayles School, Baltic CT, USA. On October 24, 2014 you would find children enjoying lunch as they would any other day…until 7th grade students Amber Discolo and Madison Gifford alerted lunch monitor Samantha Ross, a student achievement specialist, that a fellow student was choking. Ross immediately sprang into action, applying abdominal thrusts to student Tommy Smith, who was choking on his lunch.
While Ross instinctively assisted the choking student, another monitor alerted School Nurse Patrice Houle, who ran to the cafeteria. “I thank God for my other ears and eyes throughout the school,” said Patrice who has been the school nurse for more than 10 years. The District has made available funds for CPR training that more than 30 of the 70 faculty have benefited from. As a result, they are prepared. Sayles School prinicipal Jeanne Wierzbinski, noted that this is the second time since 2011 that a faculty member has assisted a choking student.
Baltic Fire Engine Company #1 member Donna Sanford and Fire Chief Les Shull appeared for today’s awards ceremony in their dress uniforms. Sanford according to the Chief is responsible for the ceremony recognizing Samantha Ross, Amber Discolo, and Madison Gifford for their selfless acts resulting in the saving of Tommy Smith’s life…Tommy told us all so fittingly, “Ms. Ross saved my day!”