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July 27, 2016

FF/EMT's son uses heimlich maneuver to save supermarket employee

PERRY, Iowa — Ken West was having lunch at a Hy-Vee supermarket when he noticed a nearby employee in distress over “something he was eating.”

West recognized that the man was choking, and immediately went to perform the heimlich maneuver. He was successfully able to clear the employee’s airway.

“First time I’ve ever had to do it and hopefully the last time I’ll ever have to do it,” said West, whose father was a fire chief and EMT. “I’m just glad I could help.”

Others aren’t as modest about West’s actions.

“He literally might have saved his life,” said Hy-Vee store director Matt May. “We’re very grateful of what Ken did and wanted to recognize him today on behalf of Hy-Vee and the Perry Chamber here.”

The supermarket awarded him with a $50 gift card and hosted a special ceremony for the heroic bystander in their store.

“I think our employees are very appreciative because we have that kind of relationship with our customers that we would do anything for them, but in turn, they will do anything for us,” said May to the Dallas County News.

The city recognized West for his actions on Monday, but he still insists that he was just in the right place at the right time.

“You always help someone in need,” West said. “I just went over and took care of it.”