- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

ENID, Okla. (AP) - A Waller Middle School student was recently given a special award from Enid Fire Department for his fast action to save the life of a school secretary.

Fire Marshal Ken Helms and Assistant Fire Chief Bill Burkhart gave Jake Pearson, a Waller eighth-grader, and school counselor Juliann Koehn plaques for “courageously providing a life-saving service to a member of our community.”

Jake was doing office aid duty when secretary Lila Johnson choked on her lunch, the Enid News and Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/10oQwmI ).

“I heard very deep coughing and I turned around and looked at her,” Jake said. “She turned around and her face was red and her arms were out wide. I performed the Heimlich.”

Jake said he’s never been formally trained in the Heimlich maneuver.

“I’ve seen some movies where they did it, and I just did it the best I could,” Jake said.

He did about 10 Heimlich thrusts on Johnson’s abdomen in the effort to free her airway. That’s about the time school counselor Juliann Koehn realized there was an emergency.

“I was walking out of an office and saw movement through the window,” Koehn said. “I looked and saw Jake doing the Heimlich on Lila. I threw down my stuff and ran in there.”

“That’s when Miss Koehn came and took over,” Jake said.

Koehn said she did about five additional thrusts before the pieces blocking Johnson’s airway were dislodged and she was able to breathe again.

As for Jake, he was able to breathe again, too.

“He was pretty shook up,” Koehn said. “He was sweating. That’s when you realize how scary it was.”

A school district nurse was summoned to check Johnson before Johnson went home to rest.

Jake’s father, Tyler Pearson, a network administrator in the Enid Public Schools’ Information Technology Department, heard about the incident the same day and phoned Jake’s mother, Anna Pearson, at her job.

“My mom was in tears of joy and she had to put the phone down before she could talk again,” Jake said. “My parents said they were surprised I didn’t freeze up like a lot of other kids would do.”

Melonie Hau, EPS assistant superintendent, came to Waller that day to give Jake and Koehn commander’s coins for their actions. On the fronts the coins read, “Excellence, Pride and Success,” and on the backs they bear the Enid Public School Foundation logo and read, “Every child, every chance, every day.”

According to the National Institutes of Health’s Medline website, the Heimlich maneuver is an emergency technique to prevent suffocation when a person’s airway is blocked by a piece of food or other object.

It can be used on adults and children, but is not recommended for infants.


Information from: Enid News & Eagle, https://www.enidnews.com

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