Abner Creek Teacher's Assistant Saves Student's Life
Tami Gosnell does not consider herself a hero. But surrounded by school colleagues, Greer Police officers and a very grateful Abner Creek Academy family on Wednesday, Gosnell was definitely the "star" of the room, and with good reason. On September 27, Gosnell, a teacher's assistant at Abner Creek, was covering her typical cafeteria duty when she noticed 4th grader Hunter Peery in distress. "Everything seemed normal" Gosnell recalls. "But I did notice that Hunter was coughing a lot." 9 year old Peery remembers the moment vividly too. "I was talking to my friends," he says. "I took a bite of my sausage, and I realized I couldn't breathe."
Within seconds, Gosnell says she noticed Peery stop coughing and turn very red in the face. With that, she jumped into action, every minute being caught on the school's cafeteria camera. "I asked him 'are you choking, are you ok?", Gosnell says. "I told him, buddy stay with me, we're going to be ok." Gosnell, who had been trained in the Heimlich manuever during annual District Five training, says she just knew what she had to do. "You really don't have time to think in a situation like that," she says. "You just rely on what you have been trained to do, and thankfully I had that training, so I just prayed that I would get it right."
With two swift thrusts, the sausage came out, and Peery could breathe again. "I can't put into words how grateful I am for her," says Shanai Peery, Hunter's mom.
On Thursday, she and other Peery family members, along with the Greer Police Department, honored Gosnell for her actions. "I think she is a hero, one of the angels above," says Hunter. "She saved my life, she means everything to me."
Tami says she was just doing her job, and would do it again for any other student. "You see these kids as your own, and I just couldn't imagine had it turned out any other way."