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Coweta County school teacher saves student choking on Life Savers mint

The boy’s mom said this isn’t the first time one of her four children has come close to death.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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NEWNAN, Ga. (CBS46) - A Newnan family is thanking their son’s teacher for thinking fast and saving his life.

Elijah Amoson is often the first student to greet his 8th grade teacher, Lawanda Watson, in the morning

“Every morning he comes into homeroom and he’s like, ‘Hey, Miss Watson, what are we doing today,’” Watson said.

On Thursday, as students at Evans Middle School were making their way between classes, a frantic group of Elijah’s classmates ran up to Watson and told her he was choking. Watson started performing the Heimlich maneuver, a first aid procedure she learned through training with the Coweta County School District, but never had to use in real life.

“When I saw him, he was very pale,” she recalled. “I pressed the [emergency] call button. I continued to do the Heimlich maneuver, and at that point, I was able to get him to get the mint dislodged from his throat.”

Ironically, Elijah had been sucking on a Life Savers mint. He said they’re his favorite. Apparently, his friend told him a joke that made him laugh, causing the candy to get stuck in 15-year-old’s throat.

“There’s not enough words,” said Stacey Amoson, Elijah’s mother. “I wish I could return the favor but how do you return that kind of favor to somebody?”

As unlikely as it may seem, Amoson said this isn’t the first time one of her four children has come close to death.

Doctors saved her oldest son, Keegan, from a rare tick disease when he was 12. Her second oldest, Tiffany, had to be resuscitated after she nearly drowned at age 6. Just last year, Amoson’s daughter Brianna, was life-flighted after being involved in bad wreck.

“My children like to surprise me with little things,” Amoson joked. “They love me so much that they’re just dying to get away.”

While Amoson can laugh now, she and Elijah know if it weren’t for the quick actions of Watson, he may not be alive today.

“I was blessed with the best teachers this year,” Elijah said.

“I just saw that one of my babies was choking,” Watson added. “And I just stepped in and did what all educators would do. We’re here to keep our kids safe at all costs.”