'Thanks for saving my life:' Student recounts teacher assistant's heroics

Woman performs series of Heimlich maneuvers at Florida school


FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. – A Fruitland Park Elementary School fifth grader found himself in a scary situation during lunchtime when he began to choke on his lunch.

Luckily, teacher assistant Sherry Jutkofsky sprung into action to save Jordan Strauss, using the CPR and first aid training she had learned last year to remedy the situation.

"I was choking and scared," Jordan said. "At first, I reached into the back of my mouth and pulled out as much as I possibly could. Then, I ran to the trash can and tried to cough it up, but that didn't really work."

Jutkofsky said she could sense something was wrong with Jordan when he ran past her with his hands around his throat.

She performed the Heimlich maneuver on Strauss, but it did not work the first time, and she was scared of hurting him.

After other faculty members arrived and provided advice, Jutkofsky knew she needed to give the Heimlich maneuver another shot.

"I did it harder and it worked," Jutkofsky said. "It took a few attempts, though. They talked about that in the class. They told us not to be afraid to really get in there."

Jordan said he now has a closer relationship with Jutkofsky after she stepped up to be his hero.

"My mom said she is so thankful, and I am, too. Thanks for saving my life," Jordan said.