It’s rare that someone who has yet to see a decade is considered a lifesaver, a hero; but for a nine-year-old Mineola resident, that’s just what he is. Nicholas Ramos, a fourth grader at Jackson Avenue School, portrayed knowledge well beyond his years and saved a classmate from choking to death earlier this year.
It was lunchtime at the Mineola elementary school on a Friday late in January when Ramos noticed from the other side of the table, schoolmate Steven Jones grabbing for his throat. He reacted immediately and the fast-thinking nine-year-old ran to aid Jones, giving him three hard blows in his back that dislodged the trapped food.
“I saw him grabbing his throat like he was choking,” said Ramos. “I knew I had to bang him on the back to help.”
Ramos says that once he saw Jones’ lips turning blue, he knew he wasn’t getting oxygen and that there was no time to find help. It was up to him. He had recently learned what to do in the situation during a first-aid meeting at his junior Webelo Cub Scout Pack meeting. His den leader, who also happens to be his mother, dedicates a great deal of time teaching and familiarizing the scouts in spotting emergency situations and how to act upon them.
Linda Ramos knows how important it is for fourth-and-fifth-graders to know what to do in these far-too-common situations and was planning on teaching her scouts the Heimlich maneuver later in the year.
“We spend a lot of time teaching the scouts how to recognize different situations of distress,” said Ramos. “I am still shocked that at his age, he realized how fast he had to react and what could have happened to his friend if he didn’t. It goes both ways, Steven knew what he needed to do to alert the people around him that he was in distress.”
The two classmates became friends three years back, bonding over the sport of hockey and being ‘die-hard Islanders fans.’ The incident has brought the two even closer together.
“I was scared when it got stuck,” said Jones. “I was so proud of Nicholas for what he did.”
For his quick-thinking and bravery, the New York Islanders and TD Bank honored the nine-year-old as their Hometown Hero for April. Ramos was honored on the scoreboard at Nassau Coliseum and received an award from Eric Fishon, VP of Suburban New York Marketing at TD Bank at the Saturday, April 13 home game against the New York Rangers.
“This program gives us an opportunity to recognize individuals in the community for their heroism,” Fishon said. “This instance is particularly special in that we have the chance to honor one of the younger members of our community for his bravery and smarts beyond his years.”