TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Robinson Middle School activity coordinator Kim Stroud has been around children long enough to develop a sixth sense of when something is about to happen.
This intuition was triggered a few weeks ago when she was on duty at school, 1125 SW 14th.
“Well, I’m in a dining room full of eighth-graders,” Stroud said, as she recalled the incident. “I am the main dining room supervisor.
“I’ve been doing this for a while, so you kind of have a bit of a hunch or a feeling that something might happen.”
Stroud was on high alert as she walked through the dining room.
“I felt like something was brewing,” she said, “so I really started to look around and be a little more meticulous about what was going on.”
Stroud said shortly after seeing eighth-grader Berta Zunun-Gomez standing at his table.
It wasn’t in Berta’s character, Stroud said.
It soon became apparent that Berta was in distress.
Stroud said she went “immediately” and determined that Berta was choking and couldn’t breathe.
“So I turned her over and did the Heimlich maneuver on her,” Stroud said, “and she started to cough and gave me a thumbs up. I kept talking to her and we worked on it, and everything was fine after that. ”She went to class later in the day.
Although Stroud said “this is definitely a full dining hall”, she didn’t know how many students were aware of “what was going on”.
Stroud said that after performing the Heimlich maneuver on Berta, several students helped their classmate get a glass of water and a chair.
“We just got back to business,” Stroud said. “I just continued our day as usual.
“She was fine. Very lucky. I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
Acting quickly is something that comes naturally to Stroud. She says all coaches and activity directors at Topeka public schools are required to have first aid training.
Stroud said she started receiving first aid training “many years ago” when she was in the Girl Scouts. This continued when she served in the Kansas National Guard.
“People react or don’t react,” Stroud said. “I’m lucky where I just jumped. I’ve been in car crashes and other situations before, so when that happened I didn’t even think – I just reacted. I just like helping people.
Berta said the choking happened in the second week of school.
It caught her off guard, she said.
“Really surprised at what happened that day,” she said, “because that never happens to me.”
Berta first said she thought the choking would stop on its own.
“I actually thought it was going to be like those regular chokes that moved away,” she said. “But after a while, I realized that this one had not disappeared.
“That’s when Mrs. Stroud came and saved me.”
Berta says she is grateful for what Stroud did for her that day.
“I’m really, really grateful she did this,” Berta said. “It was really nice of him. I don’t know what others would have done for me.
After the ordeal, things quickly returned to normal.
But Berta and Stroud have a bond that won’t soon be severed.
“I am very, very blessed and grateful,” said Berta. “I thanked her.”
Stroud agreed, saying Berta had thanked her “several times”.
“It’s just a good feeling to know that this young lady is going to be here with us every day,” Stroud said. “I’m just glad I was able to step in and help such a good kid.”
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