“The right place at the right time,” is all San Marino Police Corporal Robert Matthews would quietly allow yesterday when asked about his new role as a local hero following a life-saving Heimlich Maneuver he applied to a choking Carver student during Monday’s lunch recess.
Matthews was working his daily on-campus beat when he was approached by approached by a seven-year-old boy, who was in apparent distress. Matthews immediately applied the Heimlich and dislodged the blockage, allowing the student to breathe again on his own. Paramedics from the San Marino Fire Department quickly arrived, but the student was not transported.
A hand-written note of appreciation addressed to Corp. Matthews from the rescued student sat on Police Chief Tim Harrigan’s desk yesterday.
“I give credit to the presence of mind of the student to seek out Corp. Matthews and also to Robert for knowing what to do,” said Harrigan. “We are all very thankful. The entire Carver staff has also been certified in First Aid and CPR and I am sure any of their staffers would have known what to do had Corp. Matthews not been available.”
Harrigan said that the SMPD has an ongoing cooperation with the schools and have provided liaison officers on campus for “a number of years. Corporal Matthews, as part of his normal activities, just happened to be there.”
The chief also indicated he has been in increased contact with administrators at all campuses due to the recent string of shootings.
“Our thanks and sincere appreciation to Officer Matthews,” Carver Principal Liz Hollingsworth said. “He saved [the student’s] life.”
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