Hero school custodian saves choking student’s life at Middletown elementary school

Amanda Elementary lead custodian Kim Deaton used her training from her former job as a EMT member to save a 5th-grade boy from choking to death on food in the school's cafeteria. Deaton responded quickly and is hailed as a hero for saving Cole Hanson Oliver. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)
Amanda Elementary lead custodian Kim Deaton used her training from her former job as a EMT member to save a 5th-grade boy from choking to death on food in the school's cafeteria. Deaton responded quickly and is hailed as a hero for saving Cole Hanson Oliver. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

A former emergency medical team worker who is now Amanda Elementary lead custodian in Middletown is being celebrating for saving a fifth-grader who was choking on a cheese stick.

Kim Deaton heard O’Brianah Moon scream out over the din of cafeteria noise during Thursday’s lunchtime, and the former emergency worker from Preble County recognized it was urgent.

She sprinted to Moon’s classmate Cole Hanson Oliver, whose face “was already past red,” she told the Journal-News.

“He was shaking and he was scared,” she said.

The boy was choking to death but fortunately for Oliver, Deaton knew “I didn’t have much time” and her emergency medical training kicked in.

Reaching from the back with both arms around Oliver and quickly squeezing his upper stomach - in a Heimlich maneuver designed to force air out of his lungs to expel the food – Deaton started thrusting.

“I did a couple of series of thrusts. The first one we got up a big chunk (of cheese). The second one we got more and on the third we got what needed to be out,” she said.

“I used to run squad (EMT) years ago in Preble County’s Gratis Village so I’m going to attribute this to how you never forget,” she said of her life-saving technique.

But Amanda Principal Beth Hendricks insists there’s more to it when it comes to Deaton.

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“She is a dynamic superhero,” said Hendricks.

This one, high-profile lifesaving action, she said, was just the latest and most visible gestures of help Deaton performs for students every school day.

“She has my kids (students) at heart and she makes sure all their needs are taken care of,” she said. “When she recognizes one of our kids have a need, she is the first one to come to me about it and ask what can we do to help.”

Oliver’s parents, said Hendricks, report the boy, who was taken to the doctor after the incident, is doing fine and expected to return to school when classes resume Tuesday.

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