Dade County honors "hero" students and nurse - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dade County honors school heroes

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Nurse Sonya Middlebrooks demonstrates CPR techniques with student Jeffrey Mattox Nurse Sonya Middlebrooks demonstrates CPR techniques with student Jeffrey Mattox

TRENTON, GA (WRCB)-  What would you do if you saw a friend, choking on food, gasping for breath?  Unfortunately, many of us would either panic, or wait for someone else to take action. Fortunately, two Dade County students, and a school nurse have stepped up in these crucial moments, and have now been rewarded for their efforts.

Sonya Middlebrooks is a school nurse, serving schools throughout the county. She and two fourth grade boys were honored at Dade Elementary School for taking action.  "Nurse Sonya" recently performed CPR on a young Davis Elementary student who was unresponsive. She stayed with the child all the way to the hospital in Chattanooga. Since then, she's stepped up her efforts to make sure students and parents know what to do in case of emergency.

Earlier in the school year, Dade 4th grader Jeffrey Mattox saw his classmate Beth Smith choking on cheese sticks in the school lunchroom. He knew what to do. "My mom is a nurse, so I know about the Heimlich Maneuver.  I really like being around Beth, she's a lot of fun, and I thank the Lord that she is all right."  Beth told the assembled 3rd and 4th graders, "Jeffrey is my hero!"

Hayden Dunnell, also a fourth grader at Dade elementary, found himself in a similar situation in late November.  Classmate Amberlyn Greulich was "turning purple," according to Hayden and several witnesses, and couldn't breathe or speak.  He had seen the Heimlich Maneuver diagrammed on a poster in a restaurant.  He says it was his natural instinct to react.

"Some of my friends were looking at her saying 'We need to get someone,' and I said that's enough, let me go over there and save her."  Amberlyn said, "I might have died if it hadn't been for Hayden. I couldn't breathe, I don't know what would have happened."

All good deeds should be rewarded, so each of the Dade County heroes received gift cards, and their fellow students got some important life-saving lessons.  Nurse Middlebrooks demonstrated the proper way to administer CPR treatment and the Heimlich Maneuver, and encouraged students to study the safety practices with trained adults and online.

The assembly was attended by principal Cherie Swader, superintendent Shawn Tobin, Sheriff Patrick Cannon and numerous county school, health and government officials.  Parents of the children involved in all of the incidents were also in attendance, expressing gratitude for the quick actions of the nurse and the students.

Gift cards for the Dade heroes were provided by Game Stop in Fort Oglethorpe, the Lookout Valley Walmart in Chattanooga, Ingles of Trenton, and the Taco Bell in Trenton.

For more information on learning these important safety practices, go to 

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