COFFEE CO., GA (WALB) - A Coffee County bus driver is alive and recovering in a hospital tonight thanks to the quick actions of some students and fellow bus drivers.
Art Rogers drove his bus to Coffee County Middle school Friday from the High School as his does every day, but this time, just after he parked, his students knew something was very wrong.
He was slumped over. Not responding. Roger was having a major heart attack."He put his head down like he does when he's laughing and he didn't pick it up," said Sophomore Brett Cox.
Student Brett Cox who was with Art when it happened quickly began calling for help over the two-way radio.
His friend checked for a pulse and student Jack Kirkland called 911. "He was kind of like, leaned back, like he was asleep and then I heard shouting," said Kirkland.
Several fellow bus drivers rushed over and began CPR. All of them, rotating to perform mouth to mouth and chest compressions.
Then Coffee County Senior Mari Faith Grantham, who is CPR certified, realized the severity of the situation as she walked by. She quickly noticed the Chest Compressions weren't being done fast enough. So, she stepped in.
"I did about 3 sets of compressions on him. He was gasping for air," said Grantham.
Finally, the EMTs arrived moments later. The work between the students and the faculty helped keep Art alive.
All of the drivers say they're now glad for their required CPR training, the students springing into action and for Mari Faiths training in her health class at the high school.
"I'm so grateful for taking Mrs. Kirkland's class and her training. She does really well," added Grantham.
But mostly, they're thankful they still have their bus driver and friend around for another day.
"Art is the type of person that you want to be there. He always lightens up everybody, regardless of how you feel," said Wanda Burkett, Bus Driver.
Art Rogers is now in the Dasher Heart Center in Valdosta. His family says he is doing very well.
I spoke to others involved in helping Art Rogers last Friday, including: Danny Ware, Wanda Burkett - Bus Driver, Garrett Winters- Teacher Middle School, Sherri Berry- Principal Coffee Middle School, WB Merritt- Bus Driver, Teresa Baughn- Bus Driver, Lamar Williams- Driver, Andrew McKinnon- Bus Driver.
A Meeting will be held at the Board of Education Thursday to honor all of those involved in saving Art Roger's life.