For the past week, we've been honoring the Red Cross' Heroes of the Heartland. They come from all walks of life and two of them have walked side-by-side.
Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis and the recently retired Lt. Russ Zeeb have 80 years of experience in the sheriff’s department between them.
In May of last year the two friends were on their annual fishing trip to South Dakota. They had just finished dinner and noticed a woman in trouble.
Sheriff Davis said, “She was blue and she had her hands around her throat and I yelled to Russ, ‘there’s a gal in here choking.’”
Zeeb said, “I knew right away from the excitement in his voice. He immediately took off running. I knew that was an issue and we needed to jump on board. Like the sheriff said, she was turning blue. She was not able to get any breath. I grabbed her and performed the Heimlich maneuver on her. Over a period of time, several minutes, we were able to basically keep her from choking to death. She choked on a piece of meat. We actually could never get it out but were able to dislodge it enough so she could get some air."
They kept the woman breathing until paramedics arrived. They saved her life, but one thing bothered the duo. This happened in a crowded restaurant and no one else stepped up to help.
Davis said, “I don't think it was because they didn't want to. I think it was because they didn't know how and it’s such an easy thing to do. And if this gets the message out then go online, take a class, whatever you can do because that can happen in a moment to anybody.”
The two men don't consider themselves heroes. They both say just knowing they helped is all the thanks they need. They've been helping for years.