INDIAN HILL, OH (FOX19) - An Indian Hill teacher was honored after his quick actions saved the life of a student.
Joseph Dupps performed the Heimlich maneuver on a student after he began to choke on a pretzel last month.
Dupps was called a hero and recognized by the Indian Hill school board Tuesday.
It was a normal day at Indian Hill Elementary last moth as Dupps watched over the students while they had their snacks. 9-year-old Drew Palmer was munching on pretzels when Dupps said he realized something was wrong.
"All of the sudden I saw his face kind of turning red and acting like he was choking on something," recalled Dupps. "He stood up out of seat and dropped to the ground."
Dupps, who has been trained in the Heimlich maneuver and other life saving techniques said he instinctively sprang into action.
"I ran over there, picked him up, put him against my body and performed the Heimlich maneuver," he said.
The pretzel then popped out on the first try. Dupps said Palmer was a little shaken, but OK.
"It's a very big honor, I appreciate everything from Indian Hill," Dupps said at the recognition event Tuesday. "Drew's parents, Drew and being a part of this was a great experience, but I'm glad that he was safe, more than anything. That's what I did it for. The recognition was fantastic, but without it, I'd be more than happy."
Dupps said he wouldn't trade his job as a teacher for anything in the world.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 17,000 children each year wind up in emergency rooms because of choking related incidents
Palmer's mother, Kathy, said he runs a higher risk of choking.
"Drew has Down syndrome so he does have a narrow airway so it's something that's very much been on our radar, stated Kathy. "We still cut his food into tiny pieces and it's just odd because these are pretzels that he eats on a daily basis."
Kathy said she can't thank Dupps enough for reacting so quickly.