Rebecca Mattison, GSWNY volunteer, receives award for saving a child’s life

Rebecca Mattison has been a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Western New York for nearly 15 years. During her time, she’s led troops, served as the Service Unit Manager for Sweet Home, and now plans events for the service unit. 

Recently, the skills she learned from being involved with Girl Scouts saved a child’s life. 

At the end of October, Rebecca shared her story on Facebook, starting by saying her biggest fear was realized at work. A first grader ran to her, choking. She continued:

“He was turning purple and grabbing at his throat. I asked him if he could cough or talk, he could not. I yelled to my co-worker, Deb, ‘he is choking call the nurse!'”

Rebecca then informed the boy she’d have to hit his back and leaned him over her arm, hitting him three times in an attempt to dislodge whatever was causing him to choke. She stood him up and realized it was still stuck.

Recognizing the need for urgency, she considered using the upper thrust but decided he was too small. Rebecca instead tried the back thrust one more time and leaned him over once more.

After one hit, she heard an amazing sound – the obstruction had come out. A ball of nacho grande was seen on the floor. 

With the immediate danger over, Rebecca stood the boy up and asked if he could breathe. Realizing he could, they began walking toward the nurse, who met them halfway. Later, she saw him and let him know how smart he was for immediately running to an adult.

Rebecca explained why she decided to share her story:

“I am telling my story to say everyone should know basic first aid, especially if you work with kids near food. It’s true what they say, you think you would panic in this situation, but I went into the zone and did what I had to do.”

She concluded her tense and heroic story by adding:

“I have been trained in First Aid/CPR due to Girl Scouts and I am thankful for that.” 

In response to her actions, we awarded Rebecca the Girl Scouts of Western New York Special Commendation Award in recognition of her outstanding act of service and heroism in saving a child from choking and her embodiment of the ideals of Girl Scouts. 

We thank Rebecca for her service, selflessness, and all she does to empower the next generation of female leaders!

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