by Dennis Dalman
On Friday, Aug. 17, a Sartell man happened to see an elderly woman choking, struggling for breath at Sam’s Club’s food court and rushed to her aid, applying the Heimlich maneuver and saving her life.
That man, John Estep, was honored with a Lifesaving Award by Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes at the last City Council meeting. The woman he saved, Rosemary Zimmermann of Albany, was also present at the council meeting to thank Estep in person.
It was, Hughes said, an example of the right man, Estep, being at the right place at the right time.
Other than experiencing sore ribs, Zimmermann was fine once the piece of food was dislodged and did not need further medical attention.
The Heimlich maneuver is a technique in which a person stands behind someone choking, makes a two-handed fist, then performs quick upper movements under the victim’s rib cage to dislodge something trapped in the airway.
Hughes’ award citation states: “He (Estep) showed an unselfishness and compassion in his actions, which are all attributes we strive for in our lives and are very thankful you displayed on that day.”
“Thank you so much for stepping outside and taking care of someone who needed it,” Sartell Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll said to Estep.
Then Hughes introduced Zimmermann.
“I was very thankful he was around,” she said. “It was very scary, very scary, really really scary. I think he knew he was hurting me, but he just kept going, and he got the job done.”
Turning to Estep at the podium, Zimmermann said to him: “And I want to thank you very much.”
She and Estep, smiling at each other, shook hands.