Fourth-Grader Saves Best Friend’s Life

By Maria Nikias

Jan 30, 2012 4:47pm

 A fourth grader in Orem, Utah, is being recognized today for a heroic act of saving his best friend’s life at school.

Noah Webster Academy honored 10-year-old Carter Helt for saving the life of his friend who was choking on a jawbreaker candy.

“It was pretty scary. He was like turning purple and it was freaking me out,” explained Helt.

Helt came to Gary Anderson’s rescue last week. 

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Mark Johnston/Daily Herald

Anderson, 10, had been such a good student he was rewarded candy from the famous jawbreaker candy jar in the school’s library. With excitement, Anderson picked out a spicy and hot cinnamon-flavored jawbreaker called the Atomic Fireball, and threw it into his mouth.

“I was sucking on it too fast and it went to the back of my throat,” said Anderson. “I started banging on desks and started pointing to my throat and then Carter came over.”

Helt, who was sitting in the library at the time, heard his friend choking and immediately ran over to help. He started performing the Heimlich maneuver until the jawbreaker came out.

“I put my arms around his belly and pushed up, and it came out of his mouth,” said Helt. “I wasn’t sure it would work the first time, but it did.”

It was then Anderson realized his best friend since first grade had saved his life, and Helt had learned the Heimlich Maneuver only two weeks earlier.

“Yes I was really scared,” said Anderson. “And really happy after.”

After the incident, the two boys returned to class as normal. School director Rick Kempton went to find the two boys after hearing about the incident.

“I went over to the library where I heard it happened, and the two librarians in there were visibly shaken,” said Kempton. “They had already gone back to the classroom. I checked to make sure he was okay, which he was, and thanked Carter in front of the class for what he did.”

Noah Webster Academy school officials decided to honor Helt for his heroism in front of the entire school today, passing along the life lessons that can be learned at school.

“We just wanted other scholars the importance of learning life skills in addition to academic skills,” said Kempton. “You never when what you learn may come in handy. It just so happened 2 weeks ago they talked about the Heimlich maneuver. Who would’ve thought they would need it two weeks later.”

Gary’s mother, Karina Anderson, said she was shocked when she received a phone call from the school, and even more shocked to find out a 10-year-old had saved her son’s life.

“I’m happy there was someone who was paying attention,” said Karina Anderson. “He knew what to do and he did it.”

Helt’s mother said she was also in shock after hearing about her son’s heroic act, and couldn’t believe it the first time he told her.

“He got in the car and he was really excited and said to me, ‘I saved my best friend Gary’s life,’” said Chrystal Helt. “I said, you did what? I was surprised! I was just really shocked because I didn’t even know Carter knew the Heimlich Maneuver. I probably would have panicked and done it wrong, so I’m surprised. It was really cool and I was really proud.”

As for the candy jar, school officials say they’ve gotten rid of the jawbreakers as a present. They’ve now been replaced with school supplies.

Kempton joked, “And if Gary chokes on those he’s going to be in trouble!”

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