Goodwill employee saves co-worker from choking, thanks to Heimlich training

FAIRFILED, Ohio -- City of Fairfield officials called a Goodwill employee a hero after she used the Heimlich maneuver to save him from choking.

Brenda Matthews learned how to perform the Heimlich maneuver 13 years ago, at the start of her employment with Goodwill. It came in handy Monday when she used the rescue technique to save Jeremy Perry from choking on his lunch.

“It was a lunch and a snack,” Perry said. “I kind of laughed and it went down the wrong pipe.”

As he chewed and swallowed, one of Perry’s coworkers told a joke. The laugh was just enough to lodge the food in his throat.

"I saw his face was turning purple, so I patted him on the back, and when I realized the patting wasn't helping, I knew what I had to do,” Matthews said.

It was the first time she’d used the Heimlich.

"She did it without even thinking twice,” Perry said. 

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Perry’s mother, Regina Angel-Lill thought Matthews deserved a special thanks, so she called the city.

Officials agreed that Matthews’s quick thinking saved Perry from choking. A council proclamation was given to Matthews as official gratitude for her bravery and action.

“If it wasn’t for Brenda, I wouldn’t be here,” Perry said.

WCPO reporter Scott Wegener spoke with Matthews and Perry at Goodwill.

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