A teen cheerleader is being hailed the hero of her high school’s homecoming thanks to her quick thinking and Heimlich maneuver skills. After spotting a choking boy in the crowd during a homecoming parade, Tyra Winters flocked to the crowd to try to save him.
A Terrifying Situation
In Texas, 17-year-old Tyra was riding on a float for Rockwall High School’s homecoming parade, waving to the crowd with her team. She quickly noticed a mom pleading for help with her toddler, Clarke. Tyra shared in an interview with CNN affiliate KTVT, “I see the kid. I see a little bright red face and his mom’s holding him up, begging for help, screaming, asking ‘Someone help me, someone help me.” Nicole had turned over to check on her son, who was strangely quiet.
She was horrified to see that the two-year-old boy was choking on a piece of candy and was quickly turning purple. “There was no coughing, there was no breathing. He was just physically choking, just gagging, and just gasping for air,” Clarke’s mother, Nicole Hornback, told NBC affiliate KXAS. She tried to give him the Heimlich herself but had never taken a class. “I literally ran from bystander to bystander, just trying to pass him off to whoever would take him. But I was so distraught, I couldn’t speak.” Tyra was shocked at the scene but didn’t have time to think things through. Instead, she made a bold move to attempt to save little Clarke.
To The Rescue
Thankfully, Tyra had been trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver in the eighth grade because her mother runs a group home for foster children. The training certainly came in handy on this day. With the parade still going on, Tyra quickly jumped off the float to help. “I ran down to the kiddo, and I was like, ‘I got him,’ and I grabbed him from the mom,” she said. “I grabbed him and tilted him and I gave a good three back thrusts and he ended up spitting up.”
Just that quickly, a terrible situation turned into a joyous one. “I’m really blessed that I could be there at the time because the story could have gone 1,000 ways,” Tyra admitted. “I’m just happy it went the way it did. I’m glad the kid came out OK.” While Nicole was grateful that Tyra was there to save the day, the mom admitted that the situation had shaken her to the core. “To feel so useless as a mother was the most terrifying thing in my life,” Nicole admitted.
Caught up in the emotions of the moment, Nicole never got the chance to properly hug and thank Tyra. Instead, she posted a message on Facebook telling family and friends about the teen’s heroic act that saved Nicole’s son. School administrators at Rockwell High noticed the post and decided to plan a small reunion between Tyra and the Hornbacks at the school. As the mom approached Tyra with little Clarke in tow, she quickly gave her a big hug of appreciation. “I don’t really have any words,” Nicole said as Tyra gave Clarke a high-five at their reunion. “The words that you would say to anyone who does something for you is ‘thank you.’ But that doesn’t seem good enough. I commend her for being a teenager and being trained. She saved my baby.”
Tyra, who wants to be a pediatric surgeon, was just grateful that she was in the right place at the right time. “I know they’re calling me the town hero,” she told KXAS. “It’s super exciting to own that title. But, most importantly, I’m just glad the boy is okay.” For Nicole, it was a huge lesson learned. Inspired by Tyra’s training and quick thinking, she and her family plan to get CPR and first aid training right away in case of any other emergencies.
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