Maryville teacher hailed as 'a hero'

7:55 PM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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Thanks to some quick actions by John Sevier Elementary's Linda Lambertucci Tuesday afternoon, first grade student Tristen Owens was back in class one day later.

"I don't remember nothing. All I remember was I was throwing up," the 7-year-old said moments after he was choking during lunch.

He was eating a corn dog at the time when teacher's aide  Lambertucci saw from across the room that something wasn't right.

"Tristen had covered his mouth," said Lambertucci, "By the time I got back, I saw his lips were turning purple."

The teacher, along with two colleagues, helped the boy. Lambertucci then performed the Heimlich, actions she said she has not had to use in decades.

"I've never seen it. I've just, you know as a mom, you're trained, hot dogs, grapes, peanuts, you know the usual things. You're trained, those things are always in the back of your mind," she added.

Her colleagues are proud of this veteran teacher, who said learning this lifesaving action is not required. Yet, Principal Rick Wilson said many on his staff know what to do.

"We have two very important jobs, one: safety and two: student learning. And those are in priority order," Wilson said.

Tristen's mom, Samantha, met Lambertucci for the first time. With a hug and a few tears, she said, "Just run through my head that I still have him."

Her son was smiling, and for good reason; Samantha was smiling too.

"I can send my son to school and he's safe," Owens added.

Samantha and Tristen do not call his teacher "Miss Linda" anymore. Instead, they call her a guardian angel.

"I don't feel like a hero," the teacher smiled.

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