Man saves kid choking on hot dog at Vidalia Lower Elementary

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 21, 2015

VIDALIA — Tony Braley gave credit to God for being at the right place at the right time to save the life of a Vidalia kindergarten student.

Two weeks ago, the Vidalia Police school resource officer was monitoring the Vidalia Lower Elementary cafeteria when he observed a kindergarten student, Bryce Anderson, 6, in distress walking toward a teacher.

The teacher also observed the distress when Anderson approached gasping for air with his hands on his throat. The teacher began performing the Heimlich maneuver, Vidalia Police Captain Miranda Clifton said.

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Clifton said Braley was in pursuit to help the teacher after seeing the Heimlich maneuver was ineffective and turned Anderson over and hit him between the shoulder blade — under the neck — to dislodge the hot dog.

“I wasn’t scared, but it got my attention,” Braley said. “I learned what to do, but God gives you the ability to do it.”

Braley said the teacher was heroic in her efforts to assist Anderson, but he was glad to be able to help.

“God works everything out the way he wants it to be done,” Braley said. “He had me out there for a reason.”

Vidalia Lower Elementary Principal and parent Charles Anderson said his son spends about 30 minutes with Braley each morning as the officer unlocks the doors to the school.

“They talk about everything from fishing to school, so it was good that they had that rapport before,” Charles said. “Bryce is a person who meets no strangers.”

Following the actions of Braley, Anderson now wants to be a police officer.

“Bryce said he wanted to be a firefighter because they save lives, now he wants to be a police officer,” Charles said.

Braley recommends everyone to learn the Heimlich maneuver or another method to dislodge food from someone’s throat.

“Bryce was too small for the Heimlich maneuver,” Braley said. “For situations like that, use the palm of your hand and hit them between the should blade.”