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Always be prepared
Local scout and scoutmaster prove the benefits
W Torin and Kay
Torin Danilowicz and his mom Kay are shown above. Torin used the Heimlich Maneuver to save his mom from choking. - photo by Special
      Last month, 13-year-old Torin Danilowicz, a first class scout and a member of Boy Scouts of America Troup #342, saved the life of his mother Kay from choking with the Heimlich Maneuver.
      Less than a month earlier, one of Torin's assistant Scoutmasters, 23-year-old Steven Parrish, had helped save the life of Bill Tarkulich, a Massachusetts hiker who fell and seriously injured himself on the Appalachian Trail.
      But first, Torin's story, as told by his Scoutmaster Lovett Bennett.
      Kay Danilowicz had just prepared tacos for the family dinner. Her four children, including Torin, were seated at the kitchen table. Her husband Bret was away on business.
      During the meal, Kay accidentally swallowed some food down the wrong tube and tried to cough, but without success. Her breathing became high-pitched. The three younger children began to panic as Kay's face turned red and her eyes began to tear.
      Torin stood up from his chair and went to his mother, telling her and the other children, "I know what to do." As Kay struggled to breath, she got up and began to walk toward the door to get help from a neighbor. Later, Kay would realize that she would never have had time to get to a neighbor's house.
      Torin stopped his mother, again telling her that he knew what to do. Using his Boy Scout and Red Cross training, Torin began the Heimlich and with three thrusts was able to dislodge the piece of turkey that was choking his mother.
      "I was amazed at how quickly Torin had responded to me," Kay said looking back on the incident. "He calmly and confidently did exactly what he was supposed to do to aid me. I was panicking. I wasn't even able to signal with the universal ‘hand to throat' signal that clearly indicates a choking victim.
      "Boy Scouts instilled in Torin the self-confidence that allowed him to take control during a life-threatening situation," said his father Bret. "We are both very, very proud of our son."
      Only a month earlier, Assistant Scoutmaster Steven Parrish was in the right place at the right time to help Tarkulich, of Lexington, Mass., who fell and severely injured himself while on a day-hike on the Appalachian Trail near Mahoosuc Notch, Maine.
      Sometimes referred to as the "killer mile," the Mahoosuc Notch portion of the Appalachian Trail is a mile-long section of trail that presents unique obstacles that hikers must climb over, under and around. Many times, hikers must completely remove their backpacks in order to squeeze between boulders and other natural obstacles encountered on that short portion of the 2,157 mile long Appalachian Trail.
      After many months of planning, Parrish began a southbound hike on the trail from Maine to Georgia, beginning his hike at the top of Mount Katadyn, Maine (elevation 5,268 feet).
      Tarkulich had taken a bad spill and, luckily, was spotted by Parrish and Dave Evans, another southbound hiker from Georgia. Tarkulich's injuries were so serious that he had to spend two days in an intensive care unit in a New Hampshire hospital after he was rescued.
      Tarkulich, age 53, says he took the brunt of the injury on the right side of his face and suffered a cracked temporal bone.
"Thanks to Steven and Dave, I am alive and well," he wrote on his blog.
      After his fall, Tarkulich was placed in a metallic "space blanket" inside Steven's sleeping bag in order to stop the onset of hypothermia. While Dave kept him awake and conscious, Steven climbed to the top of an adjacent mountain to signal for help.
      Tarkulich had to be hand-carried off the trail in a stokes basket with his rescuers stopping often to stabilize him. Once he reached the ambulance he still had to endure 10 miles of rough logging road to get back to medical treatment.
      "Everyone should know that while there may be trail magic, there are also trail angels, and I count Stephen among them," Tarkulich said.

Re-printed courtesy of the "11th Hour" newspaper.

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