WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — A teacher assistant at an elementary school in Warren was in the right place at the right time on Wednesday.
Bonnie Dion has worked at Hugh Cole Elementary School for nearly 10 years and is now being hailed a hero.
“I was walking by a table and one of the kids turned around and said, ‘Hey this kid’s choking,’ so I turned around, I saw the look on her face, and I knew that she wasn’t breathing. She couldn’t say anything, so I just ran and gave her the Heimlich,” Dion recalled.
Dion has helped other kids who were choking in the past and knows that if they can talk, they’re still getting air. She said this time around was a little more extreme.
“I did kind of freak out a little, I’m not going to lie,” she added. “But she’s going to see Christmas, that’s all I care about.”
Others ran over to make sure the child was OK while the incident was reported to Principal Colin Grimsey.
“Every school has that go-to person who is the heart and soul of the building and I would describe Bonnie in that way,” Grimsey said. “She does so much for this building so it was kind of no surprise to me that it was her who jumped into action.”
The student was very grateful for Dion, and her mother was in tears.
“I talked to her afterward and I told her, ‘Your ribs are going to be a little sore,’ but she was OK with that,” Dion said.
This is the second time this school year that an elementary student in the Bristol-Warren Regional School District was saved while choking during lunch. In October, Bobby Santos, a custodian at Guiteras Elementary School in Bristol, also saved a student who was choking.
Santos and Dion both encouraged others to become CPR-certified so they too can save someone’s life.
“Even if you do a bad CPR, it’s better than nothing,” Dion said. “It should be a household thing.”