Kennewick WA March 6 2017 Kennewick school district officials are feeling thankful Sunday morning for the quick thinking and action taken by one of their staff members this week.
Arlie Gridley, who works in security at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School, was walking around the lunchroom observing students on Wednesday when he noticed a group of boys waving him over.
As Gridley moved closer, he overheard a student say his friend couldn’t breathe.
It was then that he noticed the student's face had turned a bright red.
Mr. Gridley quickly knelt by the boy to assess him and then tried patting him briskly on the back to knock whatever was in his windpipe loose.
When that didn’t change anything, Mr. Gridley sat behind the student and performed the Heimlich maneuver, which dislodged a piece of lettuce caught in the student’s throat.
The entire incident lasted a little more than a minute.
Gridley escorted the student to the nurse, where he was checked out.
“At recess he searched me out and thanked me for helping out and ran off to play,” Gridley said.
Gridley has worked for the district for more than 20 years and has been at Horse Heaven Hills since 2014.
He credited his past military and law enforcement training for his fast and calm response.
It's just another part of a job that empowers him to help and protect students.
“That’s what I’m here for,” Gridley concluded.