PHOENIX - The Phoenix Fire Department awarded a "Citizen Lifesaving" plaque to Gavin Hunt Thursday morning. Hunt, a fifth grader at Stetson Hills Elementary, used the Heimlich maneuver to save a classmate who was choking on a chicken nugget.
“His face was turning all red and I just reacted and did the Heimlich on him," Hunt said. "I squeezed him by the stomach and the chicken nugget flew across the room."
The incident happened in the school cafeteria last May when both students were in the fourth grade. Hunt says his science teacher explained what the Heimlich maneuver was during class one day. The student -- who attends another school now -- was grateful.
“He gave me a big hug and I told him I was happy he was still breathing,” said Hunt.
“What a lunch room is like -- it’s loud and kids are focused on themselves, eating lunch and doing what they have to do. If you think about the dynamics of the room, he saw another student needing help and paid attention to that and reacted,” said Cpt. Reda Riddle-Bigler with the Phoenix Fire Department. “In my eyes, that's a heroic effort. That's exactly what we do and he did exactly what a first responder would do when you call 911.”
Hunt’s father is proud of his son and says Gavin is a natural leader.
“[Gavin is the] type of kid that doesn’t sit back and wait for other things to happen. He kind of likes to make things happen,” said Aaron Hunt, Gavin’s father.
Gavin Hunt said he would like to be a firefighter when he grows up.
“If someone is in need of help, you should try and do what you can to help,” said Hunt.