Cherokee County Fourth-Grader Saves Friend From Choking

Thursday, November 29th 2012, 5:19 pm
By: Craig Day

A Cherokee County fourth-grader is being credited with saving the life of his best buddy.

It happened in the school cafeteria, where quick thinking and a split second jump into action made all the difference.

Caleb Davis and Justice Retzloff have been buddies for quite a while. After all, they've known each other since all the way back in Pre-K.

So, it was no surprise the two fourth-graders at Briggs Elementary were sitting next to each other during lunch at the school cafeteria, when something suddenly went wrong.

"There was bread rolls and I ate too big of a piece," said Justice.

Caleb said, "I wasn't sure if he was joking or choking. I wasn't really sure."

Both boys say, when Justice got that food stuck in his throat, it was scary.

"Yeah, it was real scary, I couldn't breathe," Justice said.

But Caleb kept his cool and quickly did the Heimlich maneuver for his best buddy and it worked.

"I saw his eyes bulge out and I said, ‘Are you choking?' And he kind of nodded his head," Caleb said.

"I could kind of breathe, but not really, and my eyes got really big and started watering," Justice said.

The quick action helped to dislodge the food. Caleb's mom, Candi Davis, works at the school as a counselor.

"He kept his composure, and did what was needed in a time of crisis. We're very proud of him," Candi said.

After it happened, the boys went on with their day. Caleb even told his mom it was no big deal.

Only later did the seriousness of the situation sink in.

"I didn't want him to die, it would have been real bad," Caleb said.

He says he doesn't remember the show or exactly when he saw it, but he learned the Heimlich on TV.

"TV, it's not wasteful. It's not a waste of energy," Caleb said.

It paid off when it was needed, and as the two grow up together, what happened in the cafeteria, will be a special bond the two friends will always share.

"We're really good friends," Justice said.

"Glad he's still alive," Caleb said.

What happened has prompted the school to look into implementing some age-appropriate first responder type lessons in the P.E. classes.