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2019-04-10 / Academics

Quick-Acting Eighth Grader Helps Save A Life

By P.J. Harmer


Danielle Miller and Rachel Trimbell. Contributed Photo Danielle Miller and Rachel Trimbell. Contributed Photo The quick reactions of an eighth grade student at Walton Central School prevented a potentially tragic situation.

What seemed like a normal afternoon on driver Dave Edwards’ bus, turned a bit of dramatic when first grade student Danielle Miller choked on a piece of candy.

Shouts of “She’s choking! She’s choking!” from students alerted Edwards.

When he looked back, Edwards said he saw the young student in the aisle with what he described as a blank look. Knowing that Rachel Trimbell is certified in CPR and first aid and a member of the Walton Fire Department Explorer Post, Edwards shouted to Trimbell to help as he secured the bus.

Trimbell sprang to action, though about seven rows separated her from Danielle.

“I just wanted to help her,” said Rachel, humbly. “She was scared. Her eyes were wide and she was gasping. You could tell she was choking.”

Trimbell said she thought it was about the fifth try when the candy became dislodged and everything seemed to be back to normal.

“I knew it would be scary,” Trimbell said, who noted she had been recertified a week before. “I freaked out more after the fact just because of the fact that I did it.”

Once things settled and Edwards restarted the bus, the two sat together.

“Not only did Rachel save a possible worse situation, but she sat with Danielle to comfort her and make sure she was okay,” Edwards said.

A week later, Rachel visited Danielle at Townsend Elementary School. A shy smile came across Danielle’s face as the seven year old sat close to Rachel to talk about the incident.

A strawberry Starburst that was “hard as a rock” was the culprit, Danielle said. She also noted she likely wouldn’t be eating those candies again any time soon.

When asked what she thought when she looked at Rachel, Danielle simply said “Happiness,” and then thanked her.

The two have been sitting together on the bus since the incident and Danielle noted she has a best friend in Rachel.

And it turns out that the two share something else – Danielle’s teacher is Robin Wagner, who Rachel also had when she was in first grade.

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