Photo by Theo Tate
Maryville kindergarten teacher Tom Miller receives a recognition plaque from Education and Title I director Kristen Novacich at the Granite City School District board meeting on Jan. 26. Miller was honored for performing the Heimlich maneuver on a staff member during a lunch outing on Jan. 14.
GRANITE CITY — When Maryville kindergarten teacher Tom Miller received a recognition award at the Granite City School District board meeting Jan. 26, he got a round of applause from a large group of people and board members.
Miller was recognized for performing the Heimlich maneuver on Frohardt fourth-grade teacher Jeremy Weaver during a lunch outing Jan. 14 at the Great Wall Chinese Buffet on Nameoki Road.
“It’s really neat that everybody clapped and stood up and it made me feel really good that they appreciate what I did and that they appreciated me as a teacher here in Granite City,” Miller said.
Miller also was congratulated by his students and colleagues at Maryville Elementary.
“It was neat,” said Miller, who is in his second year as Maryville teacher. “During the awards ceremony for the kids for the first semester, they recognized me at the end of it. They gave me a small plaque and it was very nice. The kids in my class were really excited.”
Weaver was choking on a piece of chicken before Miller came to the rescue.
“I was very fortunate,” Weaver said. “I’m thankful for what he did. I was choking. He asked if I was OK and I thought I was. I tried to take a drink and swallow it down. I didn’t know if it was going down the wrong pipe. It was lodged in my esophagus ... I took a drink and it didn’t go down. He looked me again and I shook my head, ‘No.’ I couldn’t talk. Tom was very calm and he knew what to do right away.”
Miller and Weaver have known each other for about 20 years.
“We’re pretty good friends,” said Miller, who also has been the head boys’ track coach at Granite City High School since 2001. “We worked together at Paddlers before. Before he became a teacher, he did his junior achievement in the classroom a long time ago. I’m a friend of his wife’s brother, so I’ve known him for a long time.”
Weaver graduated from GCHS in 1992. He has been teaching in the Granite City School District for 13 years.
Weaver, the manager at Paddlers Swim Club, has some advice for people who want to learn the Heimlich maneuver, a first-aid procedure developed in the mid-1970s by Dr. Henry Heimlich.
“Remain calm and try to get someone’s attention,” Weaver said. “Make sure that you know that you’re choking by holding your throat.”
Also at the board meeting, Wilson Elementary teacher Denise Ruebhausen was recognized for receiving the Tools For Teachers award in December from KPLR-TV in St. Louis and three Coolidge Junior High School students — John Lucas, Alex Eversman and Grace Sedabres — were recognized for being named to the Illinois Music Education Association All-Illinois Junior Band.