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Maine first grade teacher saves student from choking

A Sabattus Primary School teacher jumped into action when she noticed her student choking during snack time earlier this year.

SABATTUS, Maine — Breanne Napolitano is considered a hero after she jumped into action when she noticed her first-grade student choking during snack time.

"Without really think, just instinctively, I was like I know what I need to do we are going to do it. I got down and told her she was going to be ok," said Napolitano.

Napolitano said she gave 6-year-old Helen Gannon the Heimlich maneuver three times.

"Her snack, which was a strawberry, came flying out across the room. I heard her gasp for air and I was like, 'Ok we did it. Everything is alright. She is ok,'" Napolitano said.

Helen's mom, Lindsay Gannon, said she got a phone call from the school nurse after the incident.

"As a parent, it's your worst nightmare and I'm so thankful Ms. Napolitano reacted quickly and took care of Helen. She saved her life. I think it's a testament of how my daughter reacted. 'Of course Ms. Napolitano is going to help me.' She feels so safe there," Gannon said.

Principal Ben Wilson said teachers have to wear many hats, especially during this past year. 

"I think educators now more than ever have really showed their passion for their communities and families, and Breanne is a case of this. She shares a lot of love with her kids and it shows every day. This is a special moment she had with that student, and I don't think either one of them will ever forget it," Wilson said.

Napolitano said her mom is a nurse and trained her how to react in a situation like this when she was younger, and said she is forever grateful she knew what to do.

For more information about what to do in a situation like this, click here.

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