Discover Dade writer Summer Kelley received a message from county resident Cheryl Hodges this weekend thanking her husband, Puckett EMS paramedic Dennis Kelley, for the CPR classes taught at Dade High School by Kelley and school nurse Sonya Middlebrooks. Ms. Hodges said her son, Noah Hodges, a freshman at DCHS, had used the Heimlich technique taught in the classes to save his father's life.
"His Daddy had a large piece of steak lodged in his breathing area and I couldn't get my arms around him because he was bowed over," wrote Ms. Hodges. "He's about 6'4 250 lbs."
So she called Noah, who immediately started Heimlich, and after a scary couple of minutes the steak came up and the elder Hodges could breathe again. "He and myself are so GRATEFUL to your classes, your teachings," wrote Ms. Hodges. "They truly helped our son in saving his daddy's life!"
The CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class has been taught by Kelley and Ms. Middlebrooks annually, with help from volunteers, since before the passing of Senate Bill 212 in 2013, which was signed into law at DCHS by Governor Nathan Deal. The bill, which was passed after years of campaigning for it by retired Dade public health nurse Verenice Hawkins, requires schools to show a 30-minute video on CPR and how to perform CPR; but at DCHS students get the full certification class with the opportunity to get their CPR certification cards.
This is the second example of a life saved as a result of a the CPR class at Dade High, Summer Kelley points out. Last year, two DCHS students, Zach Hibbs and Mason Roberts, were honored by the Dade County Board of Education and by local legislators at the state capitol after they performed CPR on a man who collapsed on the Waterfall Trail at Cloudland Canyon. The boys assisted until rescuers could arrive and the man ultimately survived.
In this instance, his mother believes Noah Hodges' quick thinking was a result of his CPR training, too. "I have no doubt if Noah hadn't learned that in your class things may have been really bad this evening," wrote Ms. Hodges. "That's why we're so grateful. Cause I was in panic mode and Noah just knew what to do. Sure he was scared but he didn't let it show too much. He's our hero."