Quick-thinking residents saved a choking elderly woman’s life Wednesday morning at the Shelby Area Aktion Club Pancake Breakfast at the Shelby Community Center.
Trustee Lisa Manzella said retired Shelby Township firefighter Richard Batchelder sprang into action when a female guest started choking on a pancake.
“I had my back turned to her and somebody said, ‘she's choking, she's choking,’” said Batchelder. “It was automatic. I did the heimlich maneuver.”
Batcheler, with the assistance of Shelby Parks and Recreation Director Joe Youngblood and Senior Center coordinator Amy Drake then laid the woman on the floor while Batchelder continued to clear the woman’s airways with his finger.
“Fortunately, Richard, an experienced medic, jumped right in and cleared the lady’s airway, and waited for the ambulance to arrive,” said Manzella.
Batchelder said the woman was more than 70 years old and had suffered a stroke.
EMS and firefighters arrived and checked the woman’s vitals signs and gave her oxygen, before she was able to return to the fundraiser and enjoy the rest of her day.
“These heroes averted a tragedy at a very nice event,” said Manzella.
Batchelder is a former Shelby Township firefighter and paramedic and Fire Chief of the Riverview department. He is also running for clerk in Shelby Township.
Before Batchelder left the Shelby Fire Department in 2000, he said it was his mission to teach all fifth graders how to administer CPR. Howerver, after he left the department funds for the fifth grade program dried up.
“It would be wonderful if everybody could take a CPR class at least once in their lifetime,” he said.
Shelby Area Aktion Club, sponsored by the Shelby-Macomb Daybreakers Kiwanis Club, is dedicated to raising funds for Special Olympics, Kids Against Hunger, Relay for Life, and even the new County Veterans Memorial.