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Farmingdale Sixth Grader Saves Fellow Classmate  thumbnail240562

A student at Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale saved the life of a classmate by performing the Heimlich Maneuver.

Watch News12's coverage of this incredible story

Anthony Agrillo and Daniel Kelly sat down to eat lunch during fifth period on Tuesday, January 24th. It was midterms week at school, and both boys looked forward to a relaxing lunch/recess break. Daniel had attended Saltzman East Memorial, and Anthony went to Northside before entering Howitt Middle School this year. They became friends over the summer, having met through the Farmingdale Hawks Football program. As Daniel ate his lunch, he locked eyes with Anthony, who had started banging on the table and pointing to his throat.

“It all happened so fast,” said Daniel Kelly. “I got up, threw my arms around him, and started performing the Heimlich. Within seconds a piece of food shot out of his mouth.”

A large piece of cheese from a mozzarella stick was the culprit. With his airway cleared, Anthony’s breathing returned to normal.

“He didn’t hesitate,” said Anthony Agrillo. “Daniel is a loyal friend, he saw I was in trouble, and he acted.”

The Heimlich Hero program was taught to all Howitt Middle School students during health class earlier this school year. Students watched a fifteen-minute video that taught them how to recognize the signs of choking and respond with the Heimlich Maneuver.

Howitt Middle School Assistant Principal Cheryl DePierro was motivated to bring the Heimlich Heroes program to our buildings after a choking incident in the teacher’s lounge last year.

“The Heimlich Maneuver is very easy to learn and a great first step for students of all ages to begin learning life-saving techniques,” said Cheryl DePierro. “Regardless of a student's age, size or strength, they can successfully dislodge an item from someone's throat when choking and save a life. I am so proud of all our students who took the training seriously, and I am especially proud of Anthony and Daniel for remembering exactly what to do in an emergency. It is one of those skills you never want to use but are happy to have when the time calls for it!”

Farmingdale School District plans to recognize our Howitt Heimlich Heroes at the next Board of Education meeting in February.

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