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7th grader saves classmate from choking to death
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Seventh graders Colton Cranford, left, and Troy Brogan exchange a high-five. School principal Mona Ogden looks on. - photo by GLENN KAHL

 What one Ripon seventh grader learned watching TV may have saved another student’s life.

Colton Cranford was the last one to walk out the cafeteria door of Park View School last Friday after lunch when he stumbled and choked on a ham sandwich. No one was near him.

Troy Brogan said he and a friend, Seth Beeler, were leaving the restroom shortly before 1 p.m. when they saw Cranford running toward them holding his throat with an open hand. Brogan said he quickly realized Cranford was choking with “weird noises” coming from his mouth. His eyes were watering, his faced was red, and he couldn’t speak.

“Seth! Run and get help from yard duty,” Brogan said he shouted. 

The supervisor was across the campus as Brogan tried his own version of first-aid that he had seen performed on television movies – the Heimlich maneuver. Brogran said it took two upward jerks on his classmate’s stomach before a portion of the sandwich blocking his airway popped out of his friend’s mouth.

Cranford later admitted he had “just too much in his mouth” as he was heading out to the yard to play football. 

 “I couldn’t breathe and I just starting running around trying to find someone,” he said. 

The boys treated it as no big thing, their principal said.

They later told their teacher and the yard duty supervisor of the incident. Both said they thought the  students were just kidding as they were so casual with their stories.

Brogan said he got presents for his actions – a prized baseball bag – and Cranord got lectures. It didn’t seem quite fair, Brogan added. 

Park View Principal Mona Ogden said she was proud of the quick action of the seventh graders with their life-saving action – it was “awesome” what he did, she added.

“It was so casual. They did what needed to be done – sat him down on the grass – and went on with their day and played football. Everything just fell into place, and when they told the teachers about it, they were smiling. And, no one had to tell them what to do – they just did it,” she said.

Cranford said while the sandwich tasted great, ham sandwiches are off his list for awhile. He added he’s going to be sticking to peanut butter and jelly for quite a while.

“Some of our friends are jealous,” Brogan quipped, “because we get out of class to talk about it.”