Portia fire chief saves special needs boy

Portia fire chief saves special needs boy

PORTIA, AR (KAIT) - An off-duty Region 8 fire chief was in the right place at the right time to help save a child's life.

Portia Fire Chief Greg Duckworth said a little boy was choking Thursday morning at the Lawrence County Cooperative School in Portia, and Duckworth was there by chance.

"This is why we do all of this training and try to stay fresh on it because you never know when," Duckworth said.

While being fire chief, Duckworth also serves on the school board in Lawrence County.

"We normally have our meetings on Tuesday, and due to some people couldn't be there it was changed to a Thursday," Duckworth said.

A simple change that may have saved a child's life. Duckworth was in a meeting at the Lawrence County Cooperative School when the emergency happened.

"I've done CPR a few times over the years, usually it's assisting the ambulance crew," Duckworth said. "That was the first time that right on the spot I happened to be there to do it, and thank God it turned out good."

With the help of 2 other teachers, Duckworth was able to dislodge the candy.

"What was weird about the situation, each 2 years we do a refresher course and have paramedics retrain," Duckworth said. "We done that Tuesday night."

Duckworth said it felt natural to go into public service in 1998, but it's never crossed his mind over his more than 15 years of experience some consider him a hero.

"It feels good that I was able to do my job, and make a difference," Duckworth said. "But the response is overwhelming because I'm not used to it."

And the little guy he saved is thankful he did his job, making him a handwritten card that said "Thank You Mr. Nice Guy."

The boy was ok, and the school removed the candy the boy choked on from the school.

Duckworth said he was just happy he could help.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.