“I felt for breathing and found none,” Staci said, as she recalled performing the heimlich maneuver on the student twice to dislodge the food. Staci said her reaction was automatic; she was out of her seat and helping the student before she knew it. Though initially the student was frightened, by the time she left the nurse’s office she was smiling and laughing.
Staci began her work at Northeast Metro 916 in early 2014 as a substitute sign language interpreter before joining the team full-time later that year. She took American Sign Language (ASL) courses in high school in college and majored in ASL interpreting, although when she started college she initially pursued nursing. She worked in a group home for years, which is where she received first-aid training that prepared her to save a student on that day in early October. “I’m glad I was there and it was a happy ending,” she said.