(Mobile, Ala.) As the country focuses on the lives lost in the Sandy Hook School Shooting, some are pausing for a moment to embrace the lives saved... saved by a half dozen dedicated educators who died during the massacre.
There are parents, tonight, who quite literally owe their children's lives to them .
On this day, teachers are being looked at a little differently all across America and along the Gulf Coast.
Americans have come to the realization that teachers are not only the people who educate our children, but in some cases, are their first line of defense.
Herbert Wagner teaches German at Theodore High School and is one of two educators chosen as Mobile County's 2012 Teacher of the Year.
"You look at their pictures and you just care for them and you feel the loss," he said, softly. "As a parent I can't even imagine."
Herbert keeps his classroom door locked most of the time, not that he expects anything to happen, but just to be sure.
"The students have been entrusted to you and they are your students and your responsibility," he said, "and it's part of your job and you're going to do everything you can to protect them from danger."
Over at George Hall Elementary, another teacher of the year instructs her 4th grade class, an age group much closer to those lost at Sandy Hook.
Meghan Everett has a young boy of her own.
But like other teachers, she's kind of a mom to many.
"A lot of times I have to clarify. Am I talking about my personal children or my classroom children?" she said. "Because, a lot of times, you're talking about the same things."
Meghan says she and fellow teachers train for moments like those at Sandy Hook.
But when tragedy strikes it is instinct that wins the moment, though the cost may be supreme.
"You know," she said, "I'm so proud of them, and proud to be a teacher, when you hear stories like that, because you realize it's not just this one time, it's teachers all the time, everyday that are protecting their kids in some way."