Man who has worked for the Kennewick School District for over 20 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Man who has worked for the Kennewick School District for over 20 years saves student choking

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KENNEWICK, WA- Kennewick School District took to their Facebook page after one of their employees performed a heroic act.

They said they're feeling thankful for the quick thinking and action taken by one of our staff members this week.

According to their post, Arlie Gridley, who works in security at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School, was walking around the lunchroom observing students on Wednesday when he noticed a group of boys waving him over. As he got closer, he overheard a student say his friend couldn’t breathe. It was then that he noticed the student's face had turned a bright red.

Mr. Gridley quickly knelt by the boy to assess him and then tried patting him briskly on the back to knock whatever was in his windpipe loose.

When that didn’t change anything, Mr. Gridley sat behind the student and performed the Heimlich maneuver, which dislodged a piece of lettuce caught in the student’s throat.

The entire incident lasted a little more than a minute. Mr. Gridley escorted the student to the nurse, where he was checked out.

“At recess he searched me out and thanked me for helping out and ran off to play,” Mr. Gridley says.

Mr. Gridley has worked for the district for more than 20 years and been at Horse Heaven Hills since 2014. He credited his past military and law enforcement training for his fast and calm response. It's just another part of a job that empowers him to help and protect students.

“That’s what I’m here for,” he says.