Heimlich hero saves friend at lunch table

PERKASIE, Pa. - October 24, 2011

"I was terrified because I thought my friend would die," hero Brian Kennedy said.

As a boy scout, 11-year-old Brian Kennedy lives by the motto "be prepared" and it's a good thing!

Last week during 6th grade lunch at Pennridge North Middle School in Perkasie, Brian's classmate and friend Ryan Shire began choking.

"I choked on the hot mozzarella cheese on the inside and it got stuck in the back of my throat," Ryan said.

Unable to speak, Ryan motioned that he was choking.

"And I just saw him…and I just rushed over to him," Brian said.

With three strong shots, Brian dislodged the food from Ryan's throat.

"I really think he saved my life because if I would have went any longer I would have passed out and stopped breathing," Ryan said.

"I was like 'Oh my God' I just saved a life. I just saved my friend's life so it just felt awesome," Brian said.

Brian was trained to do the Heimlich in 5th grade health class and again this summer at camp, never knowing what he learned would save his friend's life.

"I thought it was awesome and when I went over to him he was just like 'oh, it's another day in the cafeteria,'" Assistant Principal Matthew Cole said.

As you can imagine, Ryan's mother is awfully glad Brian reacted so quickly.

"Having that instinct that he jumped right in and he knew how to do it, it saved his life. I was really proud of him," Michelle Sire said.

Brian Kennedy says he's okay with being called a hero for what he did and is happy to share the attention with the friend he saved.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.