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School custodian saves choking 4th grader

Posted at 1:02 PM, Jan 20, 2023

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — A custodian in Kentucky jumped into action when a fourth grader needed it most.

"I could tell immediately he needed my help, so I performed the Heimlich maneuver, and the food just popped out," said Heather Collins, the head custodian at Garth Elementary School.

Garth said it took about 15-20 seconds to clear the child's airway.

Principal Jon Salyer praised Collins for stepping in during an emergency.

"Academics matter, but, my goodness, so does kindness, so does safety," said Salyer. "We want our kids to come out and be productive citizens and I feel like Heather's actions encompass all that and sum it up."

Crucial life-saving efforts, CPR, or the Heimlich maneuver are things people hope they never have to use. In this case, Collins said she's happy she was there to help.

"It's something that I'm glad that I know how to do and it's very important," Collins said.

This story was originally reported by Austin Pollack on