Martin Doelger, a bus driver with the Riverhead Central School District, saved the life of a Pulaski Street School sixth grader on May 10 by administering the Heimlich maneuver. He was honored for his quick thinking by the district’s board of education at a meeting on May 14.
A humble Doelger said he just did what he had to do.
The incident occurred as the sixth graders filed onto Doelger’s bus after school. Almost all students had boarded when one student approached him with a horrified look on her face. Doelger said he quickly realized that she was choking on a muchkin. He used the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the food and called out to a teacher to get help.
This was the first time Doelger said he has ever used the Heimlich maneuver, which he learned while taking CPR classes through his previous employer.
“I’m just glad it worked out and she is okay,” he said.
“We are so grateful for the quick action that Martin took,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aurelia Henriquez. “He truly deserves to be recognized.”