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LINDEN — Quick thinking and preemptive training are being credited for saving the life of a North Montgomery High School student.
Making the announcement Monday during the district’s monthly meeting, North Superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran said Athletic Director Matt Merica was about to receive the Heartsaver Hero Award from the American Heart Association after performing the Heimlich Maneuver for high school student Benjamin Cody.
“This is a really big deal,” Moran said to Merica, who downplayed his role. “And Ben, I’m super glad that you knew what to do. You went to a responsible person who you needed to help you. That was part of the magic there.”
According to parents Jim and Cammie Cody, who wrote a letter to North Montgomery High School Principal Michael Cox requesting his commendation, Merica acted quickly to perform the Heimlich Maneuver during lunch when their son began choking on a bite of food.
“As he later explained to us, he was moving very little air in his attempts to breathe,” the Codys’ letter reads, in part. “He went to a nearby trash can to attempt to cough it up. Unsuccessful, and knowing he was in trouble, he immediately went to Mr. Merica for help.”
As it appears in the letter, which depicts the situation in detail, Benjamin Cody was unable to speak but managed to point to his throat. Merica then performed four abdominal thrusts, dislodging the bite on the final attempt.
“According to Ben, Mr. Merica knew exactly what to do,” the letter read.
As Moran presented the Heartsaver Hero Award from the American Heart Association, she said the district provides its teachers and coaches with CPR training through the same nonprofit organization. She also acknowledged the preemptive training as playing a crucial role.
The award, signed by Tammy Gregory, executive vice president of Integrated Programs and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, came with a personalized letter, which read (in part): Too many Americans feel helpless during emergencies because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they’re afraid of hurting the victim. In an effort to encourage others to learn the life-saving skill, we would like you to keep sharing your story. Share pictures of your special award ... using the hashtag #CPRsaveslives. Tell the world that you are a Heartsaver Hero and how important it is to be CPR trained.
For information about the American Heart Association and its CPR training courses, visit www.heart.org.
In other business:
• Several pieces of student artwork were recently mounted inside the board room at the North Montgomery administrative office. They include works from: Emmalee Perez, kindergarten, Pleasant Hill; Ean Melvin, fourth grade, Sugar Creek; Kirsten Biery, fifth grade, Sommer; Noelle Barnhart, seventh grade, Northridge; and Jack Thompson, senior, North Montgomery High School.
• A timeline of events and a briefing of administrators’ actions concerning a recent threat made at Northridge was given by Resource Officer Anthony Rice in an effort to provide clarity and transparency to parents, and to encourage students to report threats to an administrator immediately.
• Scholarships from the Montgomery County Community Foundation totaling $11,340 were approved. The scholarships aim to provide seats for six additional preschool students.
• The first reading of potential policy 7544 (concerning employees’ use of social media) was heard. If adopted, the policy would restrict social media posts to be made by North Montgomery staff, administrators and corporation employees only.
• The transfer of $1,322,660 from the Operating Fund to the Rainy Day Fund was approved in order to complete the ongoing Northridge roof project.
• Several upcoming field trips were approved. They include: Camp Tecumseh, Sommer fifth grade, March 18-19 in Brookston; Camp Tecumseh, Sugar Creek fourth grade, March 19-20 in Brookston; and Kings Island, Northridge band, May 15 in Mason, Ohio.
• The hire, transfer, resignation, retirement and termination of multiple employees and volunteers were approved Monday. They include: Lynn Oliver, retirement from physical education teacher at Sugar Creek, effective at the end of the 2019-20 school year; and Rebecca Wills, resignation as first-grade teacher at Sugar Creek, effective at the end of the 2019-20 school year.