A high school cheerleader in Texas is being hailed as the town hero after she sprang into action to save a 2-year-old, who was choking at the homecoming parade.
On Sept. 18, Tyra Winters, a 17-year-old senior at Rockwall High School, was on a float during Rockwall’s annual homecoming parade. As the float passed by one distressed mother, Winters heard her screaming for help. The mother, Nicole Hornback, said her 2-year-old son, Clarke, was choking on a piece of candy.
Without hesitating, Winters jumped from the float and performed the Heimlich maneuver on Clarke, tilting him downward and giving him three back blows, the communications coordinator for Rockwall Independent School District, Steven Offield, confirms to Yahoo Lifestyle.
"I literally ran from bystander to bystander, just trying to pass him off to whoever would take him...But I was so distraught, I couldn't speak," Hornback told NBC. "To feel so useless as a mother was the most terrifying thing in my life."
Hornback was unable to give Winters a proper thank you, as the teenager quickly left to catch up with the float. On Tuesday, according to Offield, the two were properly introduced at the school.
"I don't really have any words," Hornback told NBC. "The words that you would say to anyone who does something for you is 'thank you.' But that doesn't seem good enough."
Now, the community is calling Winters a hero for her lifesaving act.
"I was driving the fire truck in the parade that day and exited the vehicle to render aid after seeing the look of panic on the mom’s face, but before I could reach the little boy, Tyra had flipped him over and administered back blows in textbook fashion," one community member shared on Rockwall Independent School District's Facebook post. "I have been a paramedic for 20 years and [I’m] not sure that I have ever seen such quick, lifesaving action. My deepest respect for you Tyra!"
Another parade-goer wrote: "I saw this and I am blown away with her act of courage. The world needs heroes.”
"Tyra you are an amazing young woman," another shared. "Thank you for being so awesome in our community!"
Winters, who has been a cheerleader since she was five years old, hopes to become a pediatric surgeon. According to NBC, she is trained in the Heimlich maneuver and CPR because her mother runs a group home for foster children.
"I know they're calling me the town hero," Winters told NBC. "It's super exciting to own that title. But, most importantly, I'm just glad the boy is OK."
Principal Kevin Samples said in audio provided to Yahoo Lifestyle: "This is an example of a leader on campus. Her being a cheerleader also means that she's someone others look up to. She's someone we want our students, our freshman all the way up to seniors, to emulate.”
Nicole Hornback did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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