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Riverview teacher hailed as hero after saving 4th-grade student from choking

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Posted at 5:27 AM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 05:30:56-04

RIVERVIEW, Fla.  — Last week, 9-year-old Noah Cruz was in Wendy Barnes' classroom taking the FSA math test when he started choking on a peppermint candy.

"I accidentally swallowed it and it got stuck in my throat," said Cruz.

The Summerfield Elementary School teacher said she noticed the student was choking and having trouble breathing.

"I immediately realized something wasn’t right," said Barnes.

After asking questions to confirm Cruz was choking, Barnes performed the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the mint in his throat.

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"It was scary. I hope it never happens again, but I'm just glad I can stand here and take the opportunity to give (him) a hug," said Barnes.

Barnes has been a teacher at Summerfield Elementary in Riverview for 16 years.

"My job is to keep them safe and do whatever it takes," said Barnes.

Cruz's mother, Kimberly Jimenez, said Barnes is a hero.

"I’m eternally grateful for Ms. Barnes, forever in her debt," said Jimenez.

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