SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A school resource officer (SRO) in Sumner County is being hailed a hero after saving a kindergarten student’s life on Thursday.

News 2 photojournalist Drew Brumfield spoke with a Millersville Elementary School teacher’s assistant (TA) who saw the young boy choking, the SRO who jumped into action, and the boy’s mother about the dramatic incident.

“My initial thought was that he was just gagging, as if he was going to be sick, but I looked again and thought, ‘Something’s not right,’ so that’s when I got Officer Stephanie,” explained TA Jennifer Johnson.

Deputy Stephanie Reaber, a member of the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office who serves as the SRO for Millersville Elementary, said she was doing her normal duties in the cafeteria — monitoring the kids and making sure everyone was safe — when Johnson ran up and told her she thought a boy was choking.

“His face is changing colors and I knew right away something was wrong and I knew if I didn’t do anything at this moment, it could end poorly, so I ran up to him, kneeled behind him, and started performing the Heimlich maneuver,” Reaber recalled.

The boy’s mother, Kayla Saunders, said she was in such a state of shock that she didn’t even register how detrimental the experience was until Thursday night. However, her son did not let the incident dampen his spirits for long.

“He appeared, even that day right after it happened, he was happy, smiling, back to his normal self,” Reaber said. “At first, initially, of course, he was scared, but shortly after, he was back to his fun, little, quirky self.”

“I am forever grateful for SRO Stephanie. If she hadn’t been here, there’s no telling what could have happened,” Saunders told News 2. “God was just a part of it all, because she was in the cafeteria. When she was notified about Levin choking, she went into immediate action and saved him.”

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Sumner County Schools said its SRO division is ranked the best in America, adding that deputies like Reaber continue to prove how they earned that title.