Deputy saves choking child at graduation ceremony

Deputy saves choking child at graduation ceremony

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Richland County school resource officer jumped into action during a 5th grade graduation ceremony and saved the life of a 1-year-old.

"If it wasn't for her, I don't know. I thank her so much," expressed Vera Anderson, the mother of the 1-year-old.

According to the Richland County Sheriff's Department, Deputy Darlene Crawford was at South Kilbourn Elementary for their 5th grade graduation ceremony when the parent of graduating child, who had her 1-year-old son in attendance, cried out from the audience when her child began choking on a piece of candy.

"I seen my baby's eyes rolling back like he was like out of breath for about 20 seconds," said Anderson.

Deputy Crawford, with 19 years of law enforcement experience, a combination of 17 years in the Miami Police Department, and two years with Richland County, credits her training history with her immediate response, using lifesaving techniques to save the child's life.

"He was gasping for air. I immediately turned him on his back and gave him thrusts to his back and the candy came out of his mouth and he began to cry," explained Deputy Crawford.

The deputy is a mother and grandmother herself, with seven children and 13 grandchildren, and said her motherly instincts kicked in, helping to save the child's life.

"I have a motto that I always carry with me the whole 25 years of my career. I treat people as I want them to treat my family," said Crawford.

Just days later, the little boy is doing fine. His mother says he won't be getting anymore hard candy, but he will soon have a new godmother -- his hero -- Deputy Crawford.

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