Tom Miller’s friend and fellow teacher, Jeremy Weaver, started to cough during a lunch outing last week.
“Are you OK?” Miller asked. Weaver nodded, then tried to take a drink to wash down the food lodged in his throat.
It didn’t work.
“Are you OK?” Miller said he asked again. This time, Weaver shook his head and stood up. Miller quickly stepped up and performed the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the food.
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“He couldn’t get a drink,” Miller recalled on Friday afternoon, but “he stood up and was very calm.”
Miller’s actions from that lunch on Jan. 14 were recognized on Friday afternoon at Maryville Elementary’s awards assembly. Miller teaches kindergarten at the Granite City District 9 school. The principal gave him a plaque; the district superintendent and other administrators were on hand as well.
The two men sometimes meet for a payday lunch off campus, often with other teachers. Weaver is a teacher at Frohardt Elementary in Granite City; his daughter attends Maryville, and was among the 30 students receiving the Principal’s Award on Friday. A student in each kindergarten and first grade class was honored with a Shining Star Award in reading and math; children in the second through fourth grades were recognized if they were on the honor roll. More than 177 of the 378 students were applauded for reading 50 or more books by the winter break.
Miller, a kindergarten teacher at Maryville Elementary, was honored for his actions at the semester’s awards assembly after all the student awards.
“You have a hero with you today,” Maryville Principal Mark Lull told the children at the assembly. Miller’s class cheered wildly for their teacher’s actions as he was presented with a plaque. Miller will also be recognized at the school board meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the district’s central office, 1947 Adams St. in Granite City.
Miller said after the assembly that he has not had any formal first aid training but is thinking of doing so “for my family; it’s good to be prepared.”
Superintendent Jim Greenwald said he could not recall directly knowing of another similar instance.
“He’s an awesome person,” Greenwald said of Miller. “It did not surprise me at all when I heard.”