"They're two people who would go above and beyond for anyone," Maturin tells PEOPLE about Jena Meaux and Allister Viator Martin. "No one can prepare for something like this, but I'm sure they were calm and focused. They have been trained for this."
The gunman, John Russell Houser, 59, took his own life after killing two people and injuring nine around 7:30 p.m.
Meaux and Martin from New Iberia, Louisiana, weren't just colleagues – they were great friends.
"They were very close and would do everything together," says Maturin, 38, who used to teach with both women. "At school they helped out with graduation, homecoming, you name it. They went together like peas and carrots."
Maturin says "it's something they would totally do" when she was told that one jumped in front of the other to shield her during the shooting, while the other was able to pull the fire alarm.
"Even though authorities haven't said it, Jena's sister posted on Facebook that she pulled the alarm. It makes sense because Jena is much taller. They both knew what they had to do," she says.
"Her friend literally jumped over her and, in her account, actually saved her life," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said at a press conference, according to ABC News. "If she hadn't done that ... that bullet, she believed it would have hit her in the head."
Both teachers had been shot when one pulled the alarm.
According to Maturin, Jena is a mother of two young boys.
She set up a GoFundMe page for both women. She also wants to set up accounts for other victims.
"They saved so many lives," she says. "Everyone is coming together. I know they will bounce back even though it will take a while. They're so strong and will have a new sense of what life is all about."
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