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First grader and teacher's aide hailed as heroes

Posted at 6:27 PM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 21:27:30-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A first grader and a teacher's aide at Anza Trail School in Sahuarita are being hailed as heroes for saving a choking boy.

At lunch last week, Riley Peterson saw his classmate choking next to him. He told his friend to go get a teacher's aide as he helped calm down the choking student. 

At the same time, teacher's aide Bernice Ogas walked into the lunchroom and saw a commotion at one table. When she walked over to the group of students she saw one boy in trouble. 

"He was starting to turn red," said Bernice. "I bend over him and I ask him, you know, what was going on. And I move his hands because he has his hands at his throat and he can't talk to me and Riley says, 'He's choking.'"

Bernice began patting the boy's back to see if whatever object was stuck in his throat would come up. Riley leaned in front of the boy, watching to see if the object dislodged. 

When that did not work, Ogas' first aid training kicked in and she did the Heimlich Maneuver.

"I put my arms around him and I do tell him, 'I'm sorry it's going to hurt' and I just thrust inward," said Bernice. On that first thrust, a piece of pear came flying out of the boy's mouth.

The boy was taken to the nurse and is doing fine.

Rural Metro Fire Department got wind of Bernice and Riley's actions. They presented the two with awards for their efforts.