Persell Employee Credited With Saving A Life

Persell Middle School paraprofessional Mary Chestnutt has been hailed as a hero by helping a student who was choking in the cafeteria.

Chestnutt was monitoring the fifth-grade lunch when she noticed that a student was in distress. Chestnutt had previously used the Heimlich maneuver and saw that the student was making the international sign of choking. She rushed over and performed the Heimlich maneuver dislodging the food from the student’s throat.

“Every person should know how to do the Heimlich maneuver properly. You never know when you might need to help someone in a choking situation or even perform it on yourself,” Chestnutt said. “I didn’t think about it, I just did what was needed to be done and I’m happy that I was able to help this student.”

“It does not surprise me that Chestnutt stepped in and saved a student’s life,” said Phil Cammarata, Persell Middle School principal. “Mrs. Chestnutt is great with students and always goes above and beyond. When I asked her about it, she was very matter of fact about the experience. She downplayed it and wanted no credit for it. She told me, ‘I just stepped in and helped the child as anyone else would have done.’ Although she would never use the word hero, Mrs. Chestnutt certainly is one in my book.”