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Elizabethton teaching assistant saves first grader from choking

Posted On: Friday, November 9, 2018


A staff member at West Side Elementary in Elizabethton is being called a hero after saving a first grader's life at lunchtime.

Teaching Assistant Lori Barnett said in an interview Thursday she was in the midst of one of her first cafeteria shifts when Dylan Barnes ran to her for help. 

"A child walked up to me with tears in his eyes, his face was red. His mouth was open," Barnett said. 

"I was eating a chicken nugget and I swallowed it whole," Dylan said.

Barnett said surrounding students didn't realize what was going on but, without hesitation, she sprang into action. "He was in life threatening danger yes and honestly, I didn't think that the food was going to come un-lodged. It was about the time I hollered 'I need help' that it came flying out," she said. "It seemed like an eternity."

Barnett said she's never been in a situation like that before and she has no medical training. "I guess it was just instinct," she said. "I'd like to give God all the praise, the honor and the glory for putting me at the right place, at the right time to be able to assist that child." 

One parent on Facebook said this story gives her peace of mind, knowing there are heroes in the schools who're ready to take action to keep their kids safe. 

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