SWEETWATER (WATE) – He won’t let you call him a hero. In fact, when you ask Tim Carpenter what happened at Sweetwater High School he says he was just doing his job.
“That’s just part of my job. I’m here for that, to protect the kids, staff or anybody else that’s inside that school,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter is referring to a lunchtime scare for freshman student Christian Hamilton. He started choking during lunch in the school cafeteria and went to Carpenter – unable to breathe.
“Christian came running up to me and said, ‘I’m choking. I can’t breathe.’ I thought for a minute maybe he was joking but then he said it again, ‘I can’t breathe,'” Carpenter said.
At the time, Carpenter was working as a student resource officer with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. The program allows SRO officers to take vacations or days off and when they do, Carpenter steps in as a substitute SRO during their absence. It’s a program he suggested to Sheriff Tommy Jones over a year ago.
“I felt great. I was like, ‘Thank you, you saved my life.’ He was like, ‘That was good for you. Hopefully you don’t do it again,'” Hamilton said.
Carpenter has been in law enforcement for 32 years, served in Vietnam, and is a Purple Heart recipient. He and his wife Gail share six children, five grandchildren and three great grandsons.