Loudon County teacher recognized with lifesaving award for successfully performing Heimlich maneuver on choking student

From left to right are (front row) Colby Arwood, Melinda Moroz (back row) Priority Ambulance EMT Drew Robinson, Priority Ambulance Vice President of Operation Rob Webb, Loudon County Board of Education Director Dr. Jason Vance, Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw, Priority Ambulance Loudon County EMS Director Travis Estes, Priority Ambulance Supervisor Tony Lowery and Eaton Elementary School Principal Ashley Talley.

Earlier this month, Eaton Elementary first grade teacher Melinda Moroz saved the life of her student, Colby Arwood when choked on a piece of candy during a math test. Immediately, she remembered medical training provided by Priority Ambulance that allowed her to perform the Heimlich maneuver four times before successfully dislodging the candy.

Because of these efforts, Moroz was honored with a Lifesaving Award at a ceremony at Eaton Elementary School on November 1. The award was presented by Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw, Loudon County Board of Education Director Jason Vance, Eaton Elementary School Principal Ashley Talley and Priority Ambulance Loudon County EMS Director Travis Estes and Training Director Tony Lowery.

“I am very humbled, and I did what anyone else in this building would’ve done,” Moroz said. “At Loudon County Schools, we are here for the whole child. Academics are important, but our top priority is to keep our babies safe.”

Priority Ambulance provides annual three-hour training sessions on first aid, CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, bleeding control and other necessary medical skills to every school in the Loudon County and Lenoir City school system.  Priority Ambulance has provided this training since becoming the emergency 9-1-1 ambulance service provider in 2015. Moroz credits this training for her actions to save Colby.

“We receive a lot of training to act quickly in emergencies,” said Moroz.  “Tony Lowery of Priority Ambulance does a fantastic job of keeping us current with lifesaving skills so that my response to Colby’s situation was second nature.”

“Our kids go to these schools, so we want to make sure that when they go to school, they are safe,” said Priority Ambulance Supervisor and Training Director Tony Lowery. “This training is so important, and we don’t always get to directly see the positive impact of our efforts. Through quick action and bravery, Melinda was able to save a life, and we are incredibly proud to present her with this award.”

Moroz has been teaching for 26 years, and she has spent 12 of those years at Eaton Elementary School. The Eaton Elementary School motto teaches student to be “Respectful. Responsible and Safe,” and Moroz said the partnership with Priority Ambulance for safety training is one way the school is able to live up to that motto.

Priority Ambulance hosts first aid training sessions for organizations and groups within the community. If you are interested in scheduling a class in your area, visit www.priorityambulancetn.com/contact-us.

About Priority Ambulance

Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Priority Ambulance provides the highest level of clinical excellence in emergency and nonemergency medical care to the communities it serves. Throughout its national service area, approximately 2,000 highly trained paramedics and EMTs staff a fleet of approximately 400 state-of-the-art vehicles with the latest medical equipment and technology.

Priority Ambulance’s community of companies operates under trusted local brands providing medical transport options in nine states. The Priority Ambulance company partners include Shoals Ambulance in Alabama; Maricopa Ambulance in Arizona; Puckett EMS in Georgia and Southeast Tennessee; Central EMS in Georgia; Seals Ambulance in Indiana; Kunkel Ambulance in Upstate New York; Trans Am Ambulance in western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania; Medshore Ambulance in South Carolina; and Priority Ambulance in East Tennessee. Priority Ambulance also serves Baptist Memorial Health Care facilities in West Tennessee and Mississippi under the Baptist brand.

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