6 Workers Awarded For Saving Principal's Life

AED Played Key Role In Keeping Principal Alive

Six employees at Lowell Elementary School in Warren Township were honored as heroes Wednesday for saving the life of their principal.

The employees used an automated external defibrillator, or AED, after Susan Howard went into cardiac arrest on March 10, 6News' Julie Pursley reported.

"They are my heroes. They're my personal heroes," Howard said of the workers, Candace Gauer, Dave Stroud, Jennifer Perkins, Brooke Austin, Anne McGrath and Christy Hartman.

When Howard's heart stopped because of a genetic condition during a staff meeting, employees sprung into action.

"I heard some papers hit the floor, and somebody yelled Mrs. Howard's name," Stroud said.

"Someone said, 'Does anyone know CPR,' and I said, 'I do,'" said Gauer.

"People cleared tables. They were leading prayers in the computer lab, went to go get the AED, jumped in on CPR," Austin said.

Each person who helped received a Certificate of Heroism Award from the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association for their quick action.

"Had it not been for the CPR and defibrillator, I wouldn't be alive today," Howard said.

An AED ranges in price from about $1,300 to $1,500. Support from the PTA led to the purchase of the AED at Lowell Elementary.

"It saved a life. How important is that?" Stroud said. "It saved Mrs. Howard's life, absolutely."

"I will shout from the rooftops the importance of having those in every public setting, because it saved our friend's life," Austin said.

The association contends that if more schools and businesses were equipped with AEDs, fewer people would die each year from the nation's leading killer.

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