Rocky Point custodian performs Heimlich maneuver, saves choking student

Avery Ward says she was eating lunch with her friends when she started choking on French fries.

News 12 Staff

Jun 14, 2021, 9:04 PM

Updated 1,038 days ago

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A school custodian in Rocky Point is credited with saving a student who was choking in the cafeteria.
Avery Ward, 15, is a ninth grade student at Rocky Point High School. Ward says she was eating lunch with her friends when she started choking on French fries. She wasn't able to breathe or speak.
That's when Dave Cook, a custodian for 20 years, jumped into action and performed the Heimlich maneuver. Cook was able to get Ward to cough up the French fries.
"I was at one end of the cafeteria and Avery was at the other," says Cook. "I ran over there because I heard there was a medical emergency. I came up from behind, lifted her up, got about five thrusts. Once I dislodged it, she got very emotional. She could breathe again. I just did what I had to do. I would've done it to one of my own kids, and I will do it again in a second."
Ward says she was joking and laughing with her friends when she started to choke. She says it was terrifying but that she is grateful that Cook was there.
Ward says she will be staying away from fries for a while.


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