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Supervisors son rises to life-saving occasion

BY: Kaitlin Fritz, Community Papers of WNY | January 10, 2013

Ryan Hartzell, Clarence resident and Town of Clarence Supervisor David Hartzell’s son was just enjoying a normal lunch with his girlfriend Brittany Henningham at the Corner Bakery Café on Transit Road when they were startled by the cries of a woman.

She screamed, “Help me, help me,” as her husband in the booth with her struggled to breathe. He had been choking and nobody knew what to do. Hartzell said that he had realized many of the other customers were older, as was the gentleman and his wife. He knew that he had to do something.

“I figured if anyone had a good shot, I was the guy, even though I have no training,” he said.

After the gentleman had been choking for about 10 to 15 seconds, Hartzell rose to the occasion and began performing the Heimlich maneuver on the choking man. After six tries, he almost gave up. Finally on the seventh jolt, the piece of bread came loose that had been lodged in the gentleman’s throat.

“I was shaking,” said Hartzell as many of the customers cried and congratulated him. “It was a pretty cool feeling. I’m glad I was able to help.”

Through her tears, the man’s wife thanked Hartzell repeatedly. Once the man was able to breathe again, he was also very thankful.

Hartzell and Henningham had already finished their lunch and instead of staying for praise, this humble couple left the restaurant and continued their day like any other.

To Hartzell’s knowledge, 911 had not been called. He believed that everyone was in such shock that nobody even knew how to react to the situation.

Although he has no formal training in emergency care, Hartzell laughed as he gave his emergency training credit to watching the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire” as a child where he had seen the Heimlich performed in a scene.

Hartzell’s father said that it is the stories such as this one that affirm what he believes about the goodness of humanity.

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