OZARK, Mo. – A principal and a School Resource Officer are credited with saving the life of an Ozark East Elementary School parent.

Principal Karen Capen, who was serving as assistant principal at the time of the incident in May of 2022, told the Ozark School Police that she was concerned after being unable to reach a parent after many attempts.

School Resource Officer John Wilkerson went to the parent’s home where he found them not breathing. Wilkerson placed the parent in a rescue position until they began breathing again and stayed with the parent until EMS arrived.

“This just shows you how much our staff not only care, but pay attention to the little details,” said Ozark Executive Director of Student Services Dr. Kim Fitzpatrick. “Our staff cares deeply about students, and Mrs. Capen’s connection with East families helped save a life.”

Capen and Wilkerson were recognized for their actions on Tuesday, August 22, by the Ozark Board of Education with the Ozark School Hero Award.

“Our officers are always ready to respond, even when it may be off our school campuses,” Director of School Police Capt. Mark Deeds said. “Undoubtedly, without the action of these two school employees, the parent may not have survived.”