LORAIN — Josiah Velez said he was scared, his heart was pounding, and his hands were shaking.
He still acted.
The 6th grader at Southview Middle School didn’t let his fear stop him from doing the right thing when a friend, Logan Rinehart, started choking on food during lunch on February 15.
In retelling the story on Tuesday, February 21, Josiah said he didn’t know exactly what to do but knew his friend was in trouble.
“He sits across from me at lunch, and when I looked up at him, his mouth was all puffed out like he wanted to throw up,” Josiah said. “Then, he came across the table and started tapping on my shoulder real fast, and that’s when I figured out he was choking.”
Josiah said he got behind Logan and began hitting him on his back while trying to get the school safety officer’s attention. Then, just as Officer Christobal Gonzalez approached the table, Josiah said the food — a boneless chicken nugget — flew out of Logan’s mouth, and he took a deep breath.
Southview Principal Takisha Jackson has nothing but praise for Josiah.
“He handled himself very well. I was so proud of him when I heard what he did. He is our little hero,” she said.
Josiah received a positive office referral for his quick actions, resulting in a call home to his family. He also received a certificate honoring his courageous act of kindness.
When asked how he felt about being a hero, Josiah said he was OK with the title.
“Yeah, I feel good, but I was shaking a lot. He was turning blue, so I just did it,” he said.
Josiah said his mother once showed him how to do the Heimlich maneuver, but he didn’t pay attention enough to use it. He thinks it would be a good idea to learn again.
“I feel like I could do it again if I needed to and not just this one time,” he said.