Tift Co. teacher saves choking student's life

Tift Co. teacher saves choking student's life

TIFT CO., GA (WALB) - A Tift County teacher is being called a hero after actions in December that saved the life of a student.

3rd grader Autumn Melton still gets a little emotional as her mom recalls the moment her former 1st grade teacher, Emily Fincher saved her life December 15th. "It was real scary," recalled Autumn.

Autumn was in Mrs. Stone's class, at Len Lastinger Primary School, getting ready to go home from school, when she popped a piece of hard candy in her mouth. Something then goes wrong- the candy becomes lodged in her throat and Autumn begins to choke.

"Autumn lunged forward. At first I thought she was having a seizure. I thought ' oh my goodness'. Then she collapses on me," added Autumn's current teacher, Mrs. Stone.

That's when Mrs. Fincher, the teacher across the hall sprung into action. "Mrs. Stone told Mrs. Fincher and then Mrs. Fincher saved my life," said Autumn.

Mrs Stone says Mrs. Fincher calmly walked to Autumn and performed the Heimlich until the candy finally broke free. "It all happened so fast. I don't remember how many times I did it. I remember the candy popping out in about 20 different pieces," said Mrs. Fincher.

Her parents were immediately called to pick her up from school and thankfully, she walked away with just a sore throat. "I cried a little bit once we got to the school to get her," said Shakellia Melton, Autumn's mom. "She was in tears. She was in a lot of tears."

Mrs. Fincher was presented with a plaque for her heroic actions at a faculty meeting and recognized before the entire school board.

As for Autumns parents, they say they'll never be able to thank Mrs. Fincher enough.

"It really could have gone a different way. I just want to let them know that we're really thankful and that the next steak dinner will be on us," said Bryan Melton, Autumn's dad.

Mrs. Fincher credits her husband, who is a first responder, for his persistent advice on emergency training. She now recommends everyone get trained in CPR and be prepared. She didn't know she would ever use the training herself.

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