Students, 9 and 11, share life saving moment

May 22, 2008 6:03:16 PM PDT
Two Camden County youngsters now share a friendship that has been sealed by a life-saving moment. "My superhero, right here," Alex Harrison says at Berlin Community School, as he pats the back of Rory O'Hara. "Rory, saved my life."

Until this week, Rory and Alex were connected by the kinds of things 4th grade classmates typically have in common: classes, schoolmates, interest in sports. That all changed Monday when Alex came over to Rory in the lunchroom, while choking on a taco.

"I couldn't breathe. I was panicking," 11-year-old Alex said. "I wasn't thinking I was breathing through my nose or nothing."

9-year-old Rory O'Hara puts one hand to his own throat, and points to his own mouth with the other and says, "And he was going like this and pointing to his mouth. He was choking and I had to act fast."

"I was about to cry," Alex recalled quietly. "I thought that was the end. " Rory then saved Alex with the Heimlich maneuver that his dad taught him before allowing him to swim in a relative's pool last year.

"I leaned him over. Put my thumb like that and raised up. " Rory said as he reenacted the life saving move on his friend. And like the special friends they are, Alex finished Rory's thought. "And it came out like that. And I caught it and threw it away."

Alex couldn't believe that soft spoken Rory was saving his life.

"Wow. Wow. Like wow. Rory yeah! " Alex said like a cheer.

Rory slapped a hand on Alex' shoulder for emphasis and says, "I was relieved that he was still alive and that I could actually remember how to do that." While no longer rattled by the near tragedy, it has changed things between the school chums. "We were just friends," Rory said. But now?

"Close, close friends," Alex says quickly. "Best friends," Rory adds.

Now that the boys' friendship has reached new depths, they plan to get together outside of class to have fun and celebrate life.