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Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:00 am

Two staff members at Hickory Hill Elementary School stepped in to assist a choking elementary school student last week.

Nick Bierschenk, 11, was talking with his friends during lunch on Feb. 25 when a nacho chip became lodged in his throat.

The sixth-grader knew he was choking and immediately went up to a teacher for help.

Gina Trout, a paraprofessional at the school, tried performing the Heimlich maneuver on Nick. Trout realized that it would take more force to clear the blockage, so she turned to custodian John Mason for help.

“She wheeled him around to me,” Mason said. “After a couple attempts, he was back to breathing.”

With Mason’s extra force, the chip was dislodged.

“I was scared until they started to help me,” Nick said.

Nick didn’t let the incident interrupt his day. He returned to class after.

Mason regularly spends the lunch hour cleaning tables and performing other cleaning tasks. He said this was the first time a student has choked during lunch and he has had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a student.

Officials in the Papillion-La Vista School District have called Trout and Mason lifesavers. But, for Mason, it was just another part of the job.

“It was just something that needed to be done,” Mason said. “We stepped up and we did it. For me, it’s not a huge thing.”

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