Custodian Saves First-Grader From Choking

By: Brittany Gunter Email
By: Brittany Gunter Email

A school custodian is being honored after stepping in to save a little girl from choking. It turns out it was a pesky piece of salami that was the problem.

First-grader Addison Hager spends most of her day at Sunset Hills Elementary learning in the classroom and also having fun with her friends outside. "With Claire and Ella I usually play baby animals."

Custodian Orlando Stubblefield is also always around the school working. "I'm building service. Whatever they need, I'm here, and that's what I do." That was certainly the case last Monday.

It all started as Addison was finishing up her lunch. She stood up with a piece of salami still in her mouth and started to choke. It was difficult for her to breathe and speak, but luckily Orlando was nearby.

"I was cleaning the floor in the cafeteria at lunchtime and the first graders said Mr. Stubblefield she's choking."

So he took action and performed the Heimlich. The salami came right up. "I asked her if she was okay and she gave me a thumbs up," said Orlando.

Addison said she gave the thumbs up sign because her mouth was still full of the salami.

District 66 also wanted to give Orlando a thumbs up, so they recognized him at their board meeting Tuesday night. Addison's family was also there.

"As a mom you just hope that when you send your kids school that they are taken care of and it's a relief to know that everyone is on, including Orlando. The teachers and staff are just on point and quick thinking when emergencies happen and I just can't thank them enough,” said Sarah Hager.

Sarah said she gave Addison some advice to chew before she stands up so this hopefully won't happen again. She also said she plans on slicing the salami a bit smaller.

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