PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A South Mississippi mom is grateful for the quick thinking of the staff at her son's school after he nearly choked recently.
On Tuesday, Kristen Saksa honored the faculty at Resurrection Catholic High School in Pascagoula for their heroic actions, saying they saved her three-year-old son's life after noticing something wasn't right with him.
It happened last Friday when Saksa's son Grant was at lunch.
"He was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich," said Saksa.
Assistant pre-K 3 teacher Katie Colville noticed Grant was in trouble.
"I had just come back from the bathroom," said Colville. "I was walking one of our kids back to the table and I saw his face was really red. And I kind of told Casey his face was really red."
"He was just trying to catch his breath," said substitute teacher Casey Howard. "So I went over there and immediately started the Heimlich. He was starting to turn purple. He was going limp. He was starting to fall out of Emma's arms."
Cafeteria worker Emma Pellegrin also stepped in to help save the toddler's life, performing the Heimlich maneuver on Grant. She said she has saved her own child's life and was confident she would save Grant's life, as well.
"I'm a mother and my first reaction was to try to run over and help," said Pellegrin .
"I went and dislodged it so that he could actually get air," said Salena Parker, the school's cafeteria manager. "It was very scary because you look at all of these children here as one of your own."
The school's headmaster is grateful for the safety training all his staff at Resurrection has undergone.
"They had this training and they were prepared. So when it happened in real life, they were able," said headmaster Noah Hamilton. "It just became second nature. They just handled it."
It's training that has really paid off for Grant, and something his mother said she will be forever thankful for.
"What could have been one of our worst fears became one of my greatest blessings," said Saksa.