Warrenville, IL - What started as a routine afternoon for Petermann bus driver, Toni Paugh, changed abruptly as students from Monroe Primary School were loading her bus for the afternoon route home. One child, a first grader, was boarding the bus when Paugh noticed he appeared to be gasping for air. When asked if he was OK he shook his head, “no”. Paugh knew she needed to act fast and put her training in motion.
She immediately took off his backpack, unzipped his coat and began applying the Heimlich maneuver to no avail. The situation was deteriorating quickly. Moving swiftly Paugh got him off the bus, where once again she applied the Heimlich maneuver. After two squeezes a piece of candy flew out of his mouth and his breathing returned to normal.
“I am proud of Toni and her quick thinking, “said Ray Brock, Petermann’s general manager in Monroe. “By acting so quickly and knowing the Heimlich maneuver she truly saved the child’s life – we are all grateful.”
Paugh, who has been a Petermann school bus driver for seven years, has encountered many situations although none was as serious as what occurred that afternoon. “I am grateful that I was watching the kids board the bus” said Paugh. “Upon seeing him I knew he was in serious trouble and I am thankful that I was able to come to the rescue.”