LSSD Board Award Wilson Co SRO Bowen for Saving Life
Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Special Resources Officer (SRO) Joe Bowen was presented a Meritorious Citation Monday evening by the Lebanon Special School District Board for recently saving the life of a young girl.
LSSD Student Services Administrator Mike Kurtz, who was also once an SRO at Lebanon High School, handed the officer the award for his “outstanding performance” in his quick reaction when he noticed a child in distress at a parent-teacher conference on Sept. 5. Bowen, who is normally an SRO at West Elementary happened to be filling in for another officer at Byars Dowdy Elementary for the conference, noticed the child was apparently choking on a piece of candy. The school nurse was off-duty at the time of the meeting. Bowen immediately sprang into action, performing the Heimlich Maneuver on the girl, dislodging the candy and ultimately saving the girl’s life.
“Because of his dedication to his duty, he was quick to react and save the child,” Kurtz said during the presentation. “Officer Bowen has a positive attitude and extreme dedication to his job. He did exactly what he was trained to do. This is why we have SROs in our schools.”
This year is Officer Bowen’s first year as an SRO although he has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 11 years. Ironically, LSSD School Administrator Kurtz was Bowen’s SRO at Lebanon High School when he was a student.
“When I saw what was happening,” Bowen said, “I knew I had to do something and that’s where my training came into play.”
Although the father was present, he speaks only limited English but was able to express his appreciation to Officer Bowen as did the child whose life he saved. The SRO said he was “very grateful for the award,” adding, “This award was not anything I was expecting. Just knowing the girl was ok was enough of an award for me.”
Sheriff Robert Bryan said he was extremely proud of Officer Bowen. “He is a true asset to our office and the community. We are fortunate to have him and all the other dedicated SROs in every school in the county.” Bowen is married to Mandy Bowen, who is a school nurse at West Elementary. They have two children, Connor, 11, and Jackson, who is seven.