Bluebonnet Elementary School teacher Tammy Deisher and custodian June Lovins are being called heroes after saving a student from choking at the Flower Mound school.
It was a typical lunch one recent Friday afternoon, when student Abby Wallace, 11, found herself unable to breathe while eating her lunch.
“I was scared at first because no one realized I couldn’t breathe,” Wallace said. “But then I felt safe and knew I was going to be okay as soon as Mrs. Deisher and Ms. June came over to help me.”
Thanks to Wallace’s friends, who noticed she was in distress almost instantly, they were able to call for help, which is when Deisher noticed something was not right.
“It was a very emotional and quick instance,” Deisher said. “I was on the other end of the cafeteria when I noticed her friends calling for help. I quickly ran across the cafeteria and immediately pulled her up from her seat to administer the Heimlich. I did it once, but quickly called June for help.”
Lovins, who happened to be in the cafeteria at the time, quickly went into action to help Wallace.
“I knew there was something wrong when I saw Mrs. Deisher running across the cafeteria,” Lovins said. “I saw her pick Abby up, but then she asked for my help. So, I stepped in and did the Heimlich twice, and then Abby was able to breathe. It seemed like everything happened within 20 seconds. I don’t think you really think at the time, you just react.”
When Wallace’s mother, Julie Wallace, who happens to be a Bluebonnet teacher, heard about the incident shortly after, all she could do was silently hug Deisher and Lovins.
“I was so grateful to Mrs. Deisher and Ms. Lovins’ actions to step up and quickly do what needed to be done,” Wallace said.
Deisher and Lovins quickly pointed out how their actions were something they knew how to do thanks school nurse, Judy Keown.
Every year, Lewisville ISD school nurses set aside time to train every campus employee how to perform CPR, administer the Heimlich and how to operate an automated external defibrillator.
“I am really proud of Tammy, June and the students for helping Abby,” Bluebonnet nurse Judy Keown said. “The way this was handled sets a great example for all the students and staff. The entire cafeteria applauded for Abby and her helpers that day. We were so grateful to see how teaching was used to save a child’s life.”
According to the New York’s Department of Health, at least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the United States and more than 10,000 children are taken to a hospital emergency room each year for food-choking injuries.
To help raise awareness, Wallace and Keown plan to create a skit on “What to Do When Someone is Choking” to perform for the entire student body during morning announcements – turning one scary moment into a teachable one.