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Teachers Who Saved Students Called Heroes

Updated: Tuesday, March 19 2013, 07:19 AM EDT
Two North Buncombe Elementary students, a second and a fourth-grader nearly choked to death in separate incidents in the school cafeteria in January and February.  "It was a life-threatening situation if they hadn't had that help," said school nurse Renee Cornwell.

The help came from two heroic teachers who happened to be in the right place at the right time.  They saw the students barely able to breathe and stepped in to perform the Heimlich Maneuver.   "But anyone who's involved in something like that I don't think you think of yourself as a hero," said Cornwell.  The two teachers in this case were no different.  In fact, they're so modest they declined to be interviewed or even named for this story.

But physical education teacher and CPR instructor Rhonda Smith was willing to talk because she said the issue is so important.  "Choking is a true emergency," said Smith.  She demonstrates the Heimlich to 4th graders at North Buncombe every year.  "If a child is choking, or anyone is choking, you have to try to open up that airway right away."

Now something new is happening since the near tragedies.  Every teacher at North Buncombe is being trained how to perform the Heimlich.  "Heimlich is an easy maneuver to learn.  It doesn't take a lot of skill.  So, it's important that everyone learn how to do that," Cornwell said.

By: Mario Boone, mlboone@wlos.com
Follow on Twitter: @mariobooneTeachers Who Saved Students Called Heroes


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