- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
When 10-year-old Clay Wargo of Huntingtown came home from school and told his parents he saved a friend’s life, his mom and dad thought it was a typical youngster exaggeration and laughed it off.
They soon learned Clay was very much telling the truth.
The Huntingtown Elementary School fourth grader was eating lunch at school on Feb. 7 when Clay, who comes from four generations of fire fighters, noticed that one of his classmates was choking on a hot dog.
“He was grabbing his neck and his face started turning red,” Clay said of his friend, who could not be reached by time of press.
Clay thought quickly and slapped his friend on the back; the hot dog was dislodged from the boy’s throat.
Clay said his dad taught him what to do about choking this past summer when Clay himself started choking on a strip of bacon fat.
He said his dad Corey, a paid fire fighter for Prince George’s County, taught him how to recognize choking, how to administer the Heimlich Maneuver and how to hit someone on the back as he did with his friend.
“I just decided to react really quickly and I did the thing that came to mind,” Clay said, continuing that it took about “15 seconds” for the hot dog to dislodge.
“I thought I needed to do something and not stand around and do nothing,” he said.
Clay’s mom Carol said the day after the incident she was called into the school and told about what happened.
“I felt like the worst parent in the world,” Carol said of initially laughing off what Clay told her.
For his quick-thinking Clay received a standing ovation at school, three lollipops and 25 “Heron Highs” which he explained are an imitation currency used at his school.
At home his parents said he could choose any reward he wanted and he chose to create his own Facebook page.
The Rod ‘N’ Reel Restaurant at the Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa also sent the family a few gift certificates, Carol said, adding that she recently learned that the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners will be honoring her son with a proclamation.
“I like it,” Clay said of the attention, though Carol said she knew her son was attention-shy.
“He’s a very modest, quiet child,” she said, continuing that the praise Clay received from his classmates was what touched her the most.
“They all ran up to him and gave him hugs … it was the nicest thing ever,” Carol said.
Corey Wargo said he also thought Clay and his friend were just playing around at lunch, but learned otherwise when Clay explained what he witnessed and how he reacted.
“I was amazed at what he actually did and that he had the presence of mind to do it,” Corey said, continuing of his three sons, “I always kind of want them to know what to do in certain situations.”
Despite the fact that he has already saved a life by age 10, Clay will not be pressured into a career as a fire fighter, Corey said.
“It doesn’t matter to me; whatever he’s happy doing,” Corey said.
“I want to be a football player,” Clay said with a smile.