Spiller receives Certificate of Appreciation after saving choking child –
By Patricia Beech –
“We are surrounded in our community by real-life heroes, and Polly Spiller is one of them!”
So says Amanda Lamb, Principal at Peebles Elementary, after Spiller’s quick actions recently saved a student who was choking in the school’s cafeteria.
“As a school administrator, it makes me confident that our school and students are safe when we have individuals such as her as part of our staff,” said Lamb.
Spiller doesn’t think of herself as heroic, and says she’s surprised to be cast in that role.
“There was an adrenalin rush when it happened,” says Spiller. “But it’s just something you do if someone is in need and you know what to do – you just do it.”
Spiller, an Intervention Specialist at Peebles Elementary, was recently honored by the Ohio Valley District’s school board members who presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Spiller shrugs it off, “It’s just something you do, it’s not something you expect to get a call from the newspaper about, or an email from the superintendent asking you to come to the next board meeting.”
Spiller, like all teachers receives yearly CPR and AED training through the school district.
“I think many people train for these types of incidents thinking they will never really have a need for the skills,” said Principal Lamb, “Of course, we all hope that we are never faced with a situation in which we have to make snap decisions that could result in saving a life, but we must all be prepared for the unexpected.”
Spiller says throughout the incident she was concerned the Heimlich Maneuver wouldn’t be effective. “I’ve never had to do the Heimlich before,” she says. “ I was worried about whether or not it was working, but the student finally coughed up the obstruction.”
Following the incident, Principal Lamb presented Spiller with a certificate of thanks. “She used her training and knowledge to save a life,” said Lamb. “She assessed the situation and reacted in an appropriate and timely manner.”
While Spiller appreciates the recognition she’s received, she says her actions were just part of her job as a teacher.
“Teachers wear many hats – this is just one of them,” she says. “Anyone else would have done the same thing.”