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Flagler County sheriff saves woman with Heimlich maneuver

Sharon Demers says she is 'grateful to Sheriff Rick Staly'

Sharon Demers, Sheriff Rick Staly (photo courtesy of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office)
Sharon Demers, Sheriff Rick Staly (photo courtesy of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office) (Flagler County Sheriff's Office)

PALM COAST, Fla. – Sheriff Rick Staly performed the Heimlich maneuver on a woman who was choking Wednesday evening, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Staly noticed the woman, identified by the Sheriff's Office as Sharon Demers, was in distress while attending a Meet the Candidates event for the Florida commissioner of agriculture at the Pine Lakes Golf Club in Palm Coast.

Demers was unable to speak, but indicated to Staly that she was choking when he approached her. Deputies said that's when Staly performed the Heimlich maneuver on her.

Staly was able to dislodge the food that was stuck in Demers' airway on the fourth attempt, deputies said. She was then able to breathe again.

"I'm just so grateful to Sheriff Rick Staly for saving my life," Demers said. "He was in the right place at the right time. I don't think I would have survived if he hadn't been there. He was even kind enough to sit next to me for the rest of the evening to make sure I was OK."

"I'm just happy that she is OK," Staly said. "I would hope that anyone in my position would have done the same thing."

Deputies said Demers declined further medical assistance.