Classmate saved from choking on snack

May 23, 2012 3:09:59 PM PDT
Gavin Gibson loves Cheez-Its. But they were almost his undoing. Recently during 4th grade lunch at Evans Elementary School in Marlton Gavin began choking on a Cheez-It.

Jake Rollo, his classmate, tells Action News, "I thought he was fooling around because he's usually the best joker at our table."

"He got up and his face started turning purple, so when he started hitting the table I knew something was wrong," added classmate Derek Mihalecsko.

That's when 10 year old Derek Mihalecsko sprang into action. He demonstrated for us how he ran around the lunch table, wrapped his arms around Gavin and performed the Heimlich maneuver -- which he says he'd never done before and had only seen in the movies.

With 3 quick thrusts he was able to dislodge the Cheez-It.

"I feel happy for myself and happy that he's still alive."

Gavin now thinks of Derek as not just a friend, but a hero, too.

"Because he saved my life. Because if he didn't really do that, I don't really know what would happen 'cause that could have been bad," Gavin told us. "I call him a savior now."

Kathy Carmack, a school guidance counselor, told Action News that "It's not unexpected Derek would do something like this. He's a great kid, a great kid. Very outgoing, very helpful and he really is very responsible."

In addition to the high-fives he's getting at school, Derek will be honored for his actions Thursday night at the Evesham Twp. Board of Education meeting. And he deserves it! It's not often a ten year old gets to save a life.

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