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Server who used Heimlich maneuver to save choking diner to be awarded

BY: Metro Source Staff | December 05, 2012

LANCASTER- The restaurant server who recently used the Heimlich maneuver to save a choking customer will be given a proclamation from Town of Lancaster Supervisor Dino Fudoli and a certificate of heroism from the Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance Corps (LVAC) at 10 a.m. Saturday Dec. 8 at the Olive Tree restaurant, located at 5420 Broadway, Lancaster.

Retired Depew resident Ginny Caine rose from her seat the morning of Nov. 24 choking on a piece of steak at the Olive Tree. She couldn’t breathe. Someone asked if they should call 9-1-1. Yes, Caine nodded. But then server Alyse Kelm came running to her and performed a series of abdominal thrusts to dislodge the food.

The women’s connection? They had both learned the Heimlich maneuver, CPR and basic first aid from LVAC. Kelm had recently learned the skills as part of her requirements as a cheerleading coach.

“As I was choking I couldn't help but hope and pray that someone in the restaurant had taken a course like I did,” said Caine.

LVAC has a long history of training the public in these basic life-saving skills. In fact, in the last year LVAC has trained hundreds of Lancaster High School students.

“We’re very pleased to hear that our training has made a difference and potentially saved a life,” said LVAC President Chester Popiolkowski

On Saturday Olive Tree owner Nick Aronis will announce his plan to have all his employees trained by LVAC and challenge other area restaurant owners to have their employees trained, too.

“We’d like all our employees to be prepared to respond to any future incidents,” Aronis said.

LVAC is the leading emergency medical services provider in Western New York with six parademic-level ambulances. Founded in 1953, it responds annually to more than 3,500 emergencies in Lancaster and Depew.

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