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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Firefighter/Medic's Son Remembered What Dad Said and Helped Save a Life

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

Story by Mark E. Brady and Diane V. Cunningham

So often it seems the things we say to our children go in one ear and out the other. With that being the case, we are not always as mindful as we perhaps should be when engaged in conversation while in the presence of our children. We don’t mind that they overhear some things; but at times they hear something they shouldn’t have, and they repeat it. A recent incident at Huntington Elementary School, involving 10-year-old Corey Wargo, is proof that our children are more often than not listening to us.

The Wargo family plays a significant role in the history and rich tradition of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department. Sergeant Jerry Wargo retired with nearly 25 years of service to our County’s citizens and residents. His three sons, Christian, Corey, and Cody have followed in dad’s footsteps and are 4th generation firefighters in our Department.

10-year-old Clay Wargo
Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Corey Wargo, a 10-year veteran, is currently assigned to Seat Pleasant Fire/EMS Station #808. Corey and his wife, Carol, and sons Clay (10), Colin (8), and Chase (2) reside in Huntington, Maryland. With so many family members working in the Fire/EMS Department, it is safe to assume conversations in the Wargo household include work occurrences and how the family should respond in the event of a home emergency. Clay Wargo, a 4th grader at Huntington Elementary School, apparently heard and remembered some very important information from some of those conversations.

Clay recently witnessed a classmate choking on a hot dog during lunch at school. The child turned red, was unable to speak, and had put his hands around his throat. Clay recalled hearing his parents say, “When someone puts his hands around his throat, it means he is choking and needs help. When someone is choking, punch that person in the back and squeeze their stomach.” He recognized the universal sign of choking, without even knowing that is what it is called. Seeing what was happening, he quickly positioned himself behind his classmate and began to pound on the boy’s back. After several blows, a piece of hot dog was dislodged and coughed up. Clay had just performed successful back blows, a part of the Heimlich maneuver, which is used to dislodge an object someone is choking on. The two youngsters immediately notified a teacher of what had occurred.

Huntington Elementary School principal, Ramona Crowley, learned of the incident at the end of the school day. She notified Clay’s mother and proceeded to ‘make a big deal of Clayton’ at a hastily called school assembly. “Clayton is a very special young man. Thank heaven that he was sitting where he was during lunch. I’m also grateful to his father for taking time to teach Clayton such a valuable lesson,” said Principal Crowley.

Is it possible that we have another Wargo in training for a career with the Fire/EMS Department, a 5th generation firefighter? Hmmm…

Corey Wargo, stated, “I was surprised and proud that he had the courage and knowledge to step up and help someone in distress. His classmate had recently had braces put on and was afraid to chew. He decided to break off a piece of the hotdog and swallow it whole. The young man is very grateful!”

Congratulations to Clay Wargo for a job well done! He demonstrated the knowledge and courage to help someone in need, and quite possibly saved a life.

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