SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — She went from touching lives to saving a life.
J.O. Combs Middle School Principal Laura Ridge worked her way up in the J.O. Combs Unified School District like not many before her.
She was first a parent of students, then active in the P.T.A. Then Ridge became en employee of the district and soon a teacher. It wasn’t long before her dedication and compassion propelled her to the position of principal.
On the day before school, J.O. Combs Middle School held their first-ever Taste of Combs event, showcasing the variety of foods that will be offered to students this school year. A far cry from the square pizzas and cold corn dogs of generations past.
It was at this event that Ridge’s observation skills and quick action saved a life.
“It was very warm and very dry,” a woman who only prefers to be known as “Jane” told 12 News. “I normally take water with me, but I did not take water that day.”
The midsummer heat proved to be a little too much for Jane. Her throat was dry and a piece of food at the event became lodged in her throat.
“I just could not breathe.”
Ridge noticed something was wrong.
“It all happened so fast,” Laura Ridge recalled. “The next thing I knew, I was behind her, giving her the Heimlich Maneuver.”
After three or four tries, the food dislodged.
“I turned around and gave her a hug,” Jane said. “I was thankful she was there and able to do that.”
Tragedy usually strikes when we least expect it. Fortunately for Jane, Principal Ridge’s quick actions averted a tragedy at an unsuspecting school function.
“I love being here every day,” Ridge said. “To be able to help somebody in my community makes me really excited and proud.”