COLUMBUS, Ind. — One moment on Saturday afternoon, 16-year-old Josh Gray was strolling among food booths at the Ethnic Expo, and the next he was saving a father's life.
The quick-thinking Columbus Signature Academy student performed the Heimlich maneuver on an unidentified man in his early forties as the choking victim struggled to breathe, a half-eaten kabob in one hand and the other clutching his chest.
Gray, a high school junior who has taken life-saving classes through the American Red Cross and the Boy Scouts, said the incident was over in less than 20 seconds.
The choking victim, his wife and elementary school-age daughter told Gray "thank you," but didn't exchange names, according to bystanders on Monday who had witnessed the incident.
Gray was strolling the festival grounds with his 17-year-old girlfriend, Mara Krempel. "The next thing I know he was performing the Heimlich on the man," she said.
Martha Krempel, Mara's mother, said the scene unfolded so quickly that dozens of other people nearby didn't have time to react.
"Nobody could believe this had happened. The man's little girl was crying," Mrs. Krempel said, adding that she wasn't surprised by Gray's swift response.
"He's the epitome of good in his thoughts and deeds," she said.