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MHS senior saves choking child on bus

Sierra Cannon

When Middlesex High School senior Sierra Cannon boarded the bus on October 1 to go home for the afternoon, it was like any other day. However, as it turned out, she would be involved in a life-changing event that would classify her as nothing less than a hero.

She boarded the bus at MHS and it made its way to the middle school for a normal transfer, and then to Middlesex Elementary School to load the students there. Once all were aboard, the bus headed toward the students’ homes.

At some point during the route home, Sierra noticed a younger student struggling in what looked like a choking incident. “He looked a little blue and he looked like he could not breathe, so I asked him if he was choking and he grabbed his throat and nodded yes,” she said. 

When other students notified the school bus driver, the driver slowed the bus down and pulled off the road.

Sierra didn’t hesitate. She jumped into action and started the Heimlich maneuver on the choking child, and immediately dislodged the object from the boy’s throat.

“By the time I got the bus pulled over and made it back to the young man, Sierra’s work had been done and the young man replied that he was okay,” said the bus driver.

In a very humble manner when asked why she reacted, Sierra replied, “I don’t know, I just did it!”

Middlesex County Public Schools (MCPS) operations supervisor Greg Harrow and MHS Principal Jeanne Duke later met with Sierra to congratulate and thank her for her heroic efforts. “Sierra’s actions potentially saved a young man’s life and we want everyone to know how proud we are of her efforts and decisive actions,” said Harrow. “Sierra was so humble about the entire incident and it just seemed like a walk in the park for her. I know that in the future she will look back with her chin held high and be thankful that she was in the right place at the right time.”

Principal Duke added, “Sierra is my idea of a hero. She did what needed to be done on behalf of someone else and never sought out recognition of any kind.  She is just an extraordinary young woman who acted when she needed to act and, as a result, saved a young child from choking. I am so proud of her!”

The mother and father of the young man want Sierra to know how thankful they are for her actions and they sent a heartfelt “thank-you” for saving their son from choking and for reacting in such a heroic manner. 

Sierra is the daughter of Ronald and Kathyrn Cannon of Topping and she has three brothers and one sister. Sierra attributes her knowledge of her life-saving skill to “working on it at home and in an EMT class at school,” which is taught by John Porter at MHS. 

posted 10.10.2012

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