7-year-old William Ruhno saves life of best friend choking on playground

William Ruhno and Derek Almeida were on the playground during recess Wednesday when Derek started choking.

William Ruhno and Derek Almeida were on the playground during recess Wednesday when Derek started choking. (6/6/13)

NEWARK - A second-grader at Ann Street School is being called a hero after he performed the Heimlich Maneuver on a friend choking on a pretzel.

William Ruhno and Derek Almeida were on the playground during recess Wednesday when Derek started choking. "He was eating the pretzel and he swallowed it, and then all of a sudden he was just coughing and coughing," says William. "He was trying to get it out, so I knew."

William's mother was on the playground and witnessed her son's heroic act without realizing what was going on. "I was proud of him for knowing how to do it," says Debbie Ruhno. "And just shocked that he actually did it."

He says he learned how to perform the Heimlich while watching Sesame Street.

Derek's mother bought William some toy cars as a token of her appreciation. "I appreciate what he did to save my life," says Derek. "And he's one of my best buddies." 

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