NEW LENOX, Ill. (STMW) — By all accounts, Jackson Bartke seemed to be a normal, healthy, 7-year-old second-grader. But his heart stopped during gym class on Nov. 19. He collapsed.

This had never happened to him before. Suddenly, he was unresponsive.

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Teachers and staff at Haines Elementary School in New Lenox sprang into action. Ellen Cooke, the physical education teacher, called the nurse, Christine Goeppner, who grabbed a defibrillator and headed to the gym. They were able to restart Jackson’s heart.

They and others who either called 911, administered CPR or kept the other kids calm were credited for their actions during the lifesaving incident. Jackson’s parents, Rick and Janel Bartke, recognized these “Haines heroes” at the New Lenox School District 122 Board meeting earlier this month.

“It’s amazing to us to still have (Jackson) around,” Rick Bartke said. “Without those people, and that device, and the timing, he wouldn’t be here.”

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As Rick Bartke recounted his son’s story, his voice grew weaker, as he apparently grew emotional. The day-to-day activities pass normally, he said. But when he and Janel think about how close they came to losing their son, the tears still come.

“We do plan for the worst but we pray for the best,” Goeppner said, catching her breath, tears in her eyes.

The others recognized were Sharon Tyssen, Aurelia Koncius, Clair Rady, Donnah Simmons, Lisa Annoline and Julie Palucki.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)