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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Teacher saves co-worker's life

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Corrie Gordon and Nancy Kent have been friends for awhile, but their relationship has taken on a whole new meaning since Kent saved her co-worker's life
(photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON - June 3 started out as a typical first day of summer school at the Kindergarten Center for Nancy Kent. She greeted her young pupils with all the vigor and enthusiasm they have come to expect.

Little did she know before the day was over, she would add saving someone's life to her agenda.

She remembers making bus tags for her students and finishing up for the day when she heard someone pounding on her outside classroom door. On the other side she found fellow teacher Corrie Gordon gasping for air.

As it turned out, Gordon had gotten choked on a Popsicle she had been eating outside with her students. And for reasons unknown even to her, she headed straight for Kent's classroom.

"I was choking but I thought I could cough or clear my throat like you sometimes do and it would be OK. But it didn't help, so I told my class I was going to get a drink of water. I really don't know why I went to Nancy's classroom to get it, other than the fact that the Lord directed me there.

"I kept walking faster and faster and by the time I got to her door I was really choking, I couldn't breath. I could inhale but I couldn't exhale. I kept thinking about my 4-month-old daughter and what she would do if I died. I was trying to do the choking sign to tell Nancy what was happening."

Kent got the message. She immediately got behind Gordon and performed the Heimlich maneuver, releasing the lodged piece of food.

"When I opened the door she was trying to talk but no sound was coming out of her mouth," Kent said. "I could see she was in distress, her face was red then it turned blue and purple. I knew the Heimlich because we have refresher courses through our school but I'd never done it on a real person before. I was scared to death. My adrenalin must've really been pumping because when I got home I noticed that the antique ring I was wearing had been bent. I felt so badly because I just knew Corrie must be black and blue if my ring was bent but she wasn't."

"She said I was turning blue and was gagging. I don't remember that, I just knew I couldn't breathe," Gordon added. "I had a sore throat the next day but other than that I was fine and very very thankful for Nancy. That's the closest to death I've ever been. I will never eat a Popsicle again," she vowed.

That split second changed their lives. Gordon now sees Kent not only as a co-worker, but as the person who saved her life. She also takes life a little more seriously, knowing it can be swept away within seconds.

"Every day I thank the Lord that I didn't choke to death and for sending me to Nancy to help me that day. Nancy and I were friends before but now it's a different kind of relationship, we're closer. I owe her a lot, there's really nothing I can do but say thank you."

The incident has made Kent realize how important it is to know life-saving procedures. She said she knows that it could've just as easily happened to her or one of her students.

"If someone would've asked me if I could save someone's life I probably would have said no. Corrie thanks me every day and she gave me a bag of gummy Life Savers because she knows how much I love them, that was sweet of her.

"I really feel good about it, God knew I could help her," she said. "My mother always told us that when we go to bed at night we should be able to think of two ways we've helped people. Every day I pray that I will be able to help some woman, man, boy or girl that day. I just didn't know that would include saving lives."