Birchland Park Middle School principal welcomed back after massive heart attack


EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Birchland Park Middle School Principal Tim Allen welcomed back to school today with a police escort and hundreds of students cheering him on.

“The screaming and yelling is what got me the most,” Allen told 22News. “I missed that middle school energy. I felt a lot of love from afar, but it’s so fun to be back.”

This is the first time his students have seen him in months. Allen was vacationing on the Cape with his family back in July when he had a massive heart attack.

“I went for a run, I came home, showered, I was getting ready to go to the beach, and I was suddenly having pains,” Allen explained. “It got worse and worse. My 11-year old daughter, my angel, was there. She went and got a neighbor who was going to take me to the ER, but we only got a couple hundred yards in the car before I went into full cardiac arrest.”

After months of recovery, Allen is back at school and the Birchland Park family is now complete again.

“He’s coming back, and it’s exciting because everybody wants to see him,” said student Jack Smith.

Another student, Lillian Bonner told 22News Allen’s “personality and how funny he is” is what makes him so special.

Conner Martin stepped in as interim principal, and set up the whole surprise welcome back event.

“We wanted to let him know how much he is loved, how much he’s been missed, and how much we care about him, and how excited we are to have him back where he should be,” said Martin.

Allen will be starting off part time for a week or two, then he’s hoping to get back to school full time.

“Things are looking good, and I’m getting back to some light jogging,” Allen said. “Every week, I feel a little bit better than the week before. I’m definitely ready to be back at work, and back with the kids and staff.”

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