Elizabeth "Betsy" Burbige, a teacher's aide in the Sachem Central School District for 12 years, came to a quick realization just how important that extra set of eyes and hands in the cafeteria of Gatelot Elementary School, actually are.
On Tuesday, February 7, Burbige was attending to her daily lunch duty in the cafeteria. While the elementary students purchased and were eating their lunches, she continued to pass through the cafeteria checking on students at their tables. Suddenly she noticed a young boy whose face appeared to have turned red. She quickly asked if he was alright and if he was choking, he could not answer and was very frightened.
She then immediately administered the Heimlich and the lodged piece of food came out onto his tray.
“I again asked if he could speak and he said, ‘yes I am ok’, words I was so happy to hear,” said Burbige.
The boy was then taken to be seen by the school nurse.
“It all happened so fast," she said. "Beedless to say it was frightening but I was so happy to see his bright smiling face in school the next day.”
Burbige received a heartfelt thank you and gift from the parents the following day and will be honored at the next Board of Education meeting held on March 7.