Lapeer Elementary Principal Saves Choking Student
Proving once again, not all heroes wear capes. A Lapeer elementary principal is being hailed a hero after saving the life of a young student.
On Monday, Elva Lynch Elementary fifth-grader Hailey Mozola starting choking while eating.
“I didn’t even chew it. It slid down my throat and got stuck,” Hailey told ABC12. “It felt like I was breathing through a straw and I couldn’t breathe out or talk. So I was just moving around and hitting the table and stuff.”
It was then that her hero, Principal Joe Shoopman, went into action. Instantly Shoopman swooped in and starting giving her the Heimlich maneuver, saving her life. Shoopman told ABC12,
"She was beet red in the face and had a panicked look on her face,” he said. “I stood her up and asked her if she could breathe and she shook her head no, so I turned her around and did the Heimlich the best I could.”
It was definitely a case of being in "the right place, at the right time', but not a place Shoopman exactly expected to be. Shoopman is actually the temporary principal at the elementary. Technically retired from the district after 29 years, he was brought in as acting principal a few months ago while the current administrator recovers from an illness. Hailey's mother Sharon is more than grateful that Shoopman was there that day.
“People freeze and they don’t know what do to. So the fact that he jumped in, he knew what to do. He saved my daughter’s life. He saved her,” Sharon commented to ABC12.
So how does Shoopman feel about his newfound hero status? Humble. He loves what he does when it comes to working with children and finds joy in it every single day.
"It's going to sound cliche', I don't see myself as a hero. I know people who have done heroic things, and I don't see myself in the same light. Now, Hailey certainly needed help. It was a scary moment for her, her peers, and for me. That is true. I shudder to think what might have happened, but I am confident that someone would have stepped in to help her.", he told us.
He went on to say,
"I'm so glad that I could help Hailey on Monday and get her back to hear family safe and healthy. I'm a dad (Thomas 30, Al 24, Caroline 22). I'm a husband--Mary. I probably acted like a dad that morning more than anything else. Turns out, that's what was needed. Nothing more, nothing less. "
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