ROCKWALL, Texas (WFLA/NBC) – A north Texas high school cheerleader is being called a hero after she jumped off a float during a homecoming parade to save a two-year-old boy who was choking.
Tyra Winters said she was enjoying the recent parade, a yearly tradition in Rockwall.
“Bunch of kiddos. Bunch of candy in the air,” Winters said. “It was cute.”
Among those lining the streets was Nicole Hornback and her son two-year-old son Clarke.
Winters was passing by when she noticed a life-or-death situation.
“I hear someone screaming, ‘Help, help, my son’s choking,’” Winters said.
Little Clarke was choking on a piece of candy, his mother said.
“There was no coughing, there was no breathing,” Hornback said. “He was just physically choking, just gagging, and just gasping for air.”
That’s when Winters jumped off the float and rushed to help.
“I picked the kiddo up, I tilted him downward, and I hit two or three good back thrusts… And he started spitting up and he was getting everything out,” Winters said.
The mother said it all happened so fast.
“To feel so useless as a mother was the most terrifying thing in my life,” she said.
Winters said she knew right away the boy was breathing again.
“Super fun. So I gave the kid back to his mom and I ran and got back on the float before I missed it,” she said.
Hornback said she wanted to personally thank Winters but didn’t know her name or how to reach her, so she wrote a message on Facebook about what happened. School administrators saw it and arranged a reunion at the school.
“The words that you would say to anyone who does something for you is ‘thank you.’ But that doesn’t seem good enough,” Hornback said.
Winters was trained in the Heimlich maneuver and CPR because her mother runs a group home for foster children. She also plans on becoming a pediatric surgeon.
“I know they’re calling me the town hero,” Winters said. “It’s super exciting to own that title. But, most importantly, I’m just glad the boy is OK.”