Sodexo Honors Edwins Food Services Group and Principal For Saving Life

Sodexo, the Okaloosa County School District’s food services contractor, recently honored the Food Services staff and Principal from Edwins Fine and Performing Arts for saving the life of a third grade student in January.

Cheree Davis, Principal, Chiqueda Douglas, Manager, Ellen Powell, Associate, Patricia Owens, Associate, and Amanda Reed, Associate, were presented with Sodexo’s Presidential Citation, the highest award bestowed by the corporation, given in recognition for saving a life.

“Today what we are celebrating is our humanity,” said Ken Partee, Sodexo’s Health, Safety, and Environment Manager.  “We have five of your co-workers who expressed an ultimate show of humanity with a child. That child’s life could have gone in a completely different direction but it didn’t because these wonderful people not only were paying attention, but took action.”

The student began choking after he hiccupped while eating a corn dog and a piece of it lodged in his throat.

“None of us went to work that day thinking this would happen,” said Davis.  “A young man was in a very noisy cafeteria and he had the sense to come in and his first line of defense was Ms. Trish who was standing at the register that day.  He simply could only hold his throat.  She immediately knew something was wrong and went straight into action.”

Owens was the first to perform the Heimlich maneuver while Reed ran to the office for help. 

“I acted as fast as I could,” said Reed.

Owens, Douglas, Powell, and finally Davis, had to perform the Heimlich before they were finally able to dislodge the hot dog.

“Thank goodness Ellen was there,” said Davis.  “She was our calm.  She was the one telling the little boy that he was going to be ok.  All of us had tears in our eyes and we were scared.  Nobody had time to think.  We just did.  Every one of us went home that night thinking about our own children and thinking of how many children we protect every day.  We are the ones that are there and you are the ones that are there.  Your training just goes into effect. ”

Davis advised the Food Services group to take their training seriously as they may never know when they might have to use it.