At the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, character and attentiveness are sought after when hiring, but seldom does the district know when they have employed a HERO! At Fortville Elementary School, a third grade teacher is being applauded for her quick actions to save her student's life by performing the Heimlich maneuver.
On Wednesday, April 26, Fortville Elementary School Third Grade Teacher, Mrs. Amy Hoeppner, was in the middle of her daily routine of bringing her class back from lunch. As they paused in the hallway to let the rest of the line catch up, she noticed the boy next to her, Abram Witten, began to appear distressed with his hands around his throat. Mrs. Hoeppner remembered he had been chewing on some celery as they were leaving the cafeteria. She asked Abram if he was alright but he could not give a response other than choking sounds. Mrs. Hoeppner quickly put her arms around him and performed the Heimlich maneuver. Immediately, the celery (and lunch) was expelled, and Abram began breathing normally.
Both Abram and Mrs. Hoeppner took time in the clinic to make sure everyone was physically and mentally back to normal. Abram's mother was called immediately and spoke to Abram on the phone. Soon after, Abram insisted he felt fine and wanted to return to the classroom.
Abram's mother, Serenity Turner, said, "I'm glad she reacted that well under pressure. I don't think he understood how traumatic it was; he just resumed his normal day. It's a good thing she acted the way she did and he came home in one piece."
Mrs. Hoeppner stated, "When it was over and everything was ok, I felt kind of amazed. Someone asked me how I knew where to put my hands. Honestly, you don't have time to think about the exact textbook example; you just do it because you know what you are supposed to do - even if it's not perfect. What is perfect is the way it works. It worked exactly as we are told that it should."
Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation's Superintendent, Dr. Shane Robbins, stated, "We applaud Mrs. Hoeppner for her quick response to help her student in distress. Thanks to her attentiveness to her students, the situation was resolved quickly. She is truly a hero and we are proud to have such a caring champion in our Mt. Vernon community."
Hoeppner received the Heimlich training when she was a camp counselor in college and has had several CPR/emergency training courses since. Upon hire, Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation teachers need to show proof of CPR certification and are required to keep their certification current while employed. CPR classes are offered to all staff frequently by the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation's nurse.