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Roanoke student saves teacher's life

By Jean Jadhon, jjadhon@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:05:13 PM EST
Updated On: Oct 25 2013 08:18:54 PM EDT

A freshman at William Flemming High gives his teacher the Heimlich to save her life.

ROANOKE, Va. -

So many times we hear stories of bad things teenagers are doing.  Not today.

Instead we have the story of a 14-year-old hero, a William Fleming freshman,  who saved his teacher's life. 

It was like any other Monday at William Fleming High School except on this particular test day. Everyone was eating lunch in the classroom when, in an instant, something was wrong.

"Just eating lunch with the kids and I just took a little bite of food and expected it to go down and it didn't go down," said Cathy Dickenson, an English Teacher at William Fleming High School.

"She was at her desk she was trying to say something. She was eating lunch," said Kenny Reynolds, a 14-year-old freshman.  "And she just started choking.  I heard like a gargle in her voice and she just started running from her desk."

"And I tapped him on the shoulder as I went out.  He got up and walked out the door with me," Dickenson explained.

"By the time I got out the door I realized I was really in trouble and I couldn't breathe I couldn't speak . I  couldn't do anything," Dickenson said.

That's when Reynolds tapped her on the back - but that did not help. "Her face was red. She was pointing to me and pointing to her throat," said Reynolds. "And she was still pointing to her throat and crying so I just gave (her) the Heimlich maneuver."

Amazingly, the Heimlich maneuver is something Reynolds had learned from his health teacher just three days earlier.   Reynolds had asked the health teacher to show him how to do it after hearing his mother talk about it at home.  

He told WDBJ7 he had been practicing the Heimlich maneuver  in case he ever needed to use it on his younger siblings.  He never envisioned that it would be a teacher who would need his help.

Now, classmates have a new nickname for this JV football player - hero. "It makes me feel good because it's my freshman year and to be called a hero and saving my teacher's life,  it's a good feeling."

"He's my hero. He knows that," Dickenson said.  "He really is. He saved me."