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An elementary teacher in West Michigan is being credited for saving a student's grandmother's life while teaching class online.

Julia Koch, a first-grade teacher at Edgewood Elementary in Muskegon Heights, is being recognized for her quick action when she realized one of her student's grandparents was having a stroke.

Koch made contact with the student's grandmother because they were having trouble keeping the girl's electronic device charged. She knew right away that the woman was having a medical issue.

“When she started speaking, I could tell that there was something wrong," Koch told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. "I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but there was something wrong."

Koch quickly summoned an administrator to call 911 and have someone dispatched to the woman's house.

It turned out that Cynthia Phillips was suffering a stroke and was immediately rushed to an area hospital. It's been just over two weeks since Phillips' incident and she tells the TV station she is grateful for the school personnel who helped save her life.

“Thank you for saving my life,” Phillips said. “If it wasn’t for them getting me the help, I needed I would’ve just not been here.”

She has since been able to stand but says she still faces a long road to recovery.

Edgewood Principal Charlie Lovelady sees the move to online learning as a silver lining.

“We are forced to interact with our families,” Lovelady said. “We all are growing with this process because it’s new to everyone.”


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