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Guyer teacher saves choking co-worker

Profile image for By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer
By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer

A Guyer High School teacher recently trained in lifesaving techniques is responsible for saving a co-worker earlier this month.

Kevin Tucker, who teaches psychology and world geography at Guyer, jumped to action Oct. 2 when he saw fellow teacher Barbara Ouellette choking on a carrot stick, unable to breath and signaling for help.

Tucker used techniques learned in a training course three weeks prior to dislodge a carrot from Ouellette’s throat and clear her air passage.

It’s the first and only time, Tucker said, he’s helped save someone’s life. He said while he was trained in lifesaving maneuvers years ago, a lot of what he learned had been forgotten until three weeks prior.

“I was scared to death,” he said of performing the act. “I’m very happy I took that class.”

Ouellette, a Guyer High biology teacher, calls Tucker her hero.

Talking with colleagues while eating in the teacher’s lunchroom, she said she breathed in and small pieces of a baby carrot she was chewing got lodged in her throat. Ouellette said she stood up immediately, attempted to cough and could not.

Tucker, she said, came to her, asked if she was OK and if she was choking. Unable to speak, she said, she nodded that she needed help and Tucker jumped to action.

“He just acted so quickly. I don’t even think he realized,” Ouellette said. “To me, that’s a true hero when they just react, and I’m very thankful that he was there.

“It was probably a matter of 15 seconds from when I [choked] until I could breathe again.”

Ouellette said she’s thankful to Tucker, and she and her husband showed their appreciation by taking him and his family to dinner.

“I was very grateful,” she said. “There was a reason he took that class.”

Tucker, Guyer High’s University Interscholastic League history coach, was required as a club sponsor to take a standard American Red Cross course which teaches CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and other life-saving techniques.

For Ouellette, what Tucker learned came in handy, she said.

“When it came to the seriousness of it, he just reacted,” Ouellette said. “Any child that’s in a club with him will be safe. He knows what to do.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is .