Boy’s quick action saves choking classmate |

Boy’s quick action saves choking classmate

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

Fifth-grader Mitchel Gardner of Granby recently rescued a choking classmate in the lunchroom at Granby Elementary School.

“I went to get seconds for banana bread, and I stuck the whole thing in my mouth and swallowed it down, and I started choking,” said Kadin Cathey, a fellow fifth-grader. “I couldn’t breathe at all.”

He started pounding on the table to alert his friends, he said.

“My other friend was at the other corner of the table, and he thought it was a joke. And so Mitch looked at me, and he kind of thought that it looked like it was real choking, so he started hitting on my stomach, and when that didn’t work, he started pounding on my back with his fist.”

The pressure on his mid-back successfully dislodged the chunk of food.

“I could just tell it wasn’t one of those funny moments,” Gardner said. “I could tell (Cathey) was being serious, that he wasn’t joking.”

Following the incident, Cathey said all he could do was thank his friend, who he’s known since kindergarten.

“And then I kept saying ‘thank you, thank you, thank you,'” Cathey said, “because I felt it would have been bad if he hadn’t been there.”

Gardner said he learned in Missy Wengert’s science class that the diaphragm, if compressed, would push on the lungs to dislodge something stuck in the throat.

That information was reinforced during a hunter education class when instructor Leigh Marte showed him the proper positioning for the Heimlich Maneuver.

To honor Gardner’s April 20 heroic act, the two boys are being treated to a downtown lunch next week with the Mayor of Granby Jynnifer Pierro, Granby Police Chief Bill Housley, their parents, Granby Elementary School Principal Andrea Verosky and other guests.

“They’re both just really great kids,” Verosky said. “I’m not a bit surprised Mitch was able to do this.”

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.