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Airman 1st Class Nicholas Butler saves woman from choking at local restaurant

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rachel Simones
  • 178th Wing

Airman 1st Class Nicholas Butler, a firefighter with the 178th Wing, performed the Heimlich maneuver on an elderly woman who was choking at O’ Charley’s in Springfield, Ohio, July 20.

Butler’s usual lunch spot, Chipotle, was especially busy on Thursday. He called O’ Charley’s instead to place a to-go order.

After arriving at the restaurant, he decided to eat inside instead of taking his food to-go. He waited around several minutes for his check as the computer systems were temporarily down, according to one of the O’ Charley’s servers.

“The timing was perfect because I usually get my lunch to-go, and bring it back to work” said Butler. “But last minute I decided to stay.”

The computer malfunction would turn out to be crucial for an elderly woman in need of help. As Butler started to exit the restaurant he noticed people gathering around a table of women. When Butler realized an elderly woman at the table was choking, he jumped into action.

“I used basic situational awareness and saw a group of servers gathered around,” said Butler. Multiple servers were attempting to relieve an elderly woman from choking, but to no avail.

Butler performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman and saved her from choking.

His technical training as an Air Force firefighter equipped him with the basic medical skills to assist the elderly woman.

Butler credits his faith for being in the right place at the right time.

“A higher power intervened to create that perfect timing,” said Butler.

Two years ago, Butler also helped save another life on a wintry morning on his way into a unit training assembly.

He saw a man trapped in his vehicle after an automobile accident, and used tools in his car to help free the man.

“I really believe that my faith has allowed me to be put in situations where I can help others,” said Butler.