Life-saving techniques one Beaver Island Community School student learned in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) class is being credited for helping save the life of a fellow island resident.
Ron Marsh, a senior at the school, is being credited with saving the life of Bob Banville by performing the Heimlich maneuver on him Friday April 25.
The 17-year-old was delivering items for the school elementary play to the Community Center a few blocks from the school when he saw Banville in the roadway, waving his arms and trying to flag down a vehicle.
“I know him (Banville) personally and something didn’t look right. He was leaning up against his van, holding his throat and waving his arms,” Ron said.
Ron, who took the CTE Health Occupational course as a freshman, has since taken a CPR class and become a volunteer firefighter with the Beaver Island Fire Department. Ron stopped the vehicle and went to Banville’s aid and performed the Heimlich maneuver, an emergency technique for preventing suffocation when a person’s airway (windpipe) becomes blocked by a piece of food or other object. Apparently, Banville had been eating lunch and was choking on something he ate.
Once Banville’s airway was cleared, Ron called 9-1-1 and waited for EMS to arrive. Ron said he wasn’t nervous while performing the procedure but afterwards felt an adrenalin rush.
“I was a little shaken up afterwards when I really thought about what I had done,” he added.
The training Ron learned through the Char-Em ISD-supported CTE Health Occupational class, as well as training he received from his volunteer role with the fire department and on-the-job training from the Beaver Island Boat Company all paid off.
School Superintendent and Administrator Riley Justis said the student’s training went from “theoretical to practical.”
“I am very proud of him. It’s great to have the opportunity to offer our CTE Health Occupational class here in our small community,” Justis said. “We’re producing kids that have first aid and CPR skills…skills that can save lives. We would not be able to offer (the class) without the support we receive from the ISD voc-ed millage.”
Ron said this one experience has made him even more committed to becoming an EMT and firefighter. “It’s important to know the basics (about first aid) and the Heimlich maneuver because you never know when you can help someone else,” he said.