Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

November 30, 2012

Quick-thinking boy saves friend

BRIGGS — When Briggs fourth-graders Caleb Davis and Justice Retzloff went to lunch Tuesday, they didn’t know a potentially life-changing event was about to take place.

The boys were bound for the room where they knew hunger pangs would disappear and recess would soon follow, but within minutes, Caleb would be putting into practice what he’s observed several times on television: the Heimlich maneuver.

Justice said he bit off a sizable piece of his dinner roll, started chewing, tried to take a drink – and knew right away he was choking.

“I just looked at Caleb and he saw my eyes. They were like – they had green in them and they were bulging,” Justice said. “It was like one minute after I started chewing.”

The boys began their friendship when they met playing pre-kindergarten little league sports, so they were familiar with each other’s facial and body gestures. Caleb was sitting on the same side of the bench table, and when he looked at his friend, he briefly wondered if Justice was kidding around.

Then he realized the moment was real, and life-threatening.

“He was kind of bending over [with his head lowered toward his knees]. I put my around him and went one, two, and it popped out,” Caleb said. “I’ve seen [the Heimlich maneuver] on TV before. When I did it, some girls were laughing at me. They stopped when they knew we weren’t joking.”

The lunch-room incident has prompted school officials at Briggs to begin looking into adding some first aid/crisis response training to its physical education curriculum, said school counselor Candi Davis, who also happens to be 10-year-old Caleb’s mother.

She was in Tulsa on the day of her son’s life-saving act.

“I was in Tulsa at a meeting, and I got a text from a teacher that said Caleb had just performed the Heimlich on another student and that the student is fine. That was our first concern,” Davis said. “I was very proud of Caleb, that he could think and act calm in a crisis situation and help his friend. He, on the other hand, didn’t seem to think it was much of a big deal. I left my meeting, and I called him and he said, ‘It’s recess, Mom, I’m busy,’ and he told me, ‘I was just helping my friend out and that’s what you do.’ I’m glad he knows that. When he came home that night, he said, ‘Mom do you think TV’s a waste of time anymore?’”

Since the incident, the boys said, their classmates have expressed concern for Justice and quizzed Caleb on how he knew to use the Heimlich maneuver. Justice said he wouldn’t have known what to do had he been alone, and urged the other kids never to play when eating, or joke around about serious matters.

“I would say don’t do it, because it can happen really fast,” he said.

In using the teachable moment, Davis’ mom said she talked to her son about what could be learned from the incident.

“What Caleb and I talked about most is what could come out of this, and it’s knowledge for other children,” she said.

“That is so important because it can happen anywhere, and it happens so fast. How can we equip other students or other young children to know how to act in a moment of crisis? We want to raise awareness and want kids at our school to be ready in any kind of crisis situation.”

Text Only
Local News
  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-TonsOffTahl-A.jpg Tribes, city, NSU launch Tons Off Tahlequah campaign

    When studies are conducted about whether Americans are living healthy lifestyles, Oklahoma often ranks poorly among the states.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-Trail-show-1.jpg Jackson takes prize

    Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
    “The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
    Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
    “We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
    The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • churchguy.jpg Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive

    They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
    The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer

    An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
    Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.

    April 16, 2014

  • TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria

    Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
    TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.

    April 16, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing