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Scout saves teacher’s life

Christopher Read
Christopher Read, a sixth-grader at Farragut Middle School, loves to laugh and tell jokes.

However, Christopher showed his serious side last year when he saw his teacher choking on a piece of candy.

It was the end of a school day for 11-year-old Christopher, then a fifth-grader in Grapevine, Texas.

“It really was just a typical day in our classroom,” Christopher’s teacher Kay Stratton recalled. “We had just finished working on our lesson and were enjoying some (M&Ms) candy when I felt the candy stop in my throat.”

Stratton said she rushed to the front of the first group of desks where Christopher sat and pointed to her throat.

Students, who at first thought Stratton was joking, watched her struggle for air.

“I am sure my face was red and I was trying to catch my breath,” Stratton said.

According to Christopher, Stratton started gagging and choking, then threw her glasses off and gasped faintly, ‘I can’t breathe.’

Christopher heard her plea and hurriedly moved behind her. He performed the Heimlich Maneuver on Stratton, which he had been taught during a Boy Scout meeting a few weeks earlier.

Sheryl Zimmerman was Christopher’s Webelos (Boy Scout) den leader in Texas. She said Christopher Read was a faithful, energetic member of her den last year before he moved.

“It’s rewarding as a den leader to know Christopher was able to use the Heimlich Maneuver I taught the boys to save his teacher’s life,” Zimmerman said.

The Heimlich is a maneuver that applies manual pressure to the lower chest to dislodge a foreign object from the windpipe.

“I couldn’t tell if anything came out so I asked someone to get a chair that she could use to push against her stomach.”

Christopher hadn’t realized the M&M had already dislodged from her throat and hit the floor.

“I then started to do the Heimlich again, but she said, ‘Stop Christopher. It’s out.’”

The other children, eyes wide and mouths hanging open, were stunned.

One student simply said, “Wow.”

Another asked Christopher, “Where did you learn to do that?”

As Stratton began to breathe easier, she thanked Christopher for his help.

“He thought of it as no big deal,” Stratton said, “but I explained to the class the trouble I could have been in if Chris had not reacted so quickly.”

Christopher’s father, Richard Read, said he is glad Christopher learned first aid at a young age.

“We are grateful that during a critical moment, Christopher had the composure to stand up and take action,” his father said. “We hope this experience inspires other young men and women to learn and realize how much an impact their learning, education and actions can have on the lives of others.

“I’ve learned that stuff really can happen,” Christopher added, “that the stuff you learn in scouts is worth learning because it could help save someone’s life.”

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