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'I was scared, it was hard to breathe... Jensen saved me'



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Jensen Derry and Madison Smith, students at Brandon Fletcher Intermediate School. Photo by Susan Bromley. (click for larger version)
April 13, 2011 - Brandon Twp.- Jensen Derry was eating lunch with some friends at Brandon Fletcher Intermediate School on Feb. 16 when one of the girls said, "Maddie's choking."

Jensen thought the cookie that Madison Smith was eating would come up right away. Another friend slapped Madison on the back, but as her choking continued and her face turned beet red, Jensen took life-saving action.

"I got behind her and I pulled in on her twice with a closed fist, doing the Heimlich Maneuver, and it just popped out, a piece of cookie," she said.

Jensen's cousin, who took a babysitting course, had told her about the Heimlich Maneuver, and she had also seen it on television, but had never before performed it. Madison is grateful Jensen knew what to do.

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"I was scared, it was hard to breathe," said Madison, who, along with Jensen, is a sixth-grader at BFIS. After the cookie popped out on to her lunch tray, Madison exclaimed to everyone at the lunch table, "Jensen saved me!"

"I turned around and gave her a hug," said Madison. "It was amazing for her to do that and it really helped me. We were all proud of her after she did it."

Jensen will be honored for her heroic action during the Brandon Groveland Youth Recognition Night. At the 24th annual event, set for 6:30 p.m., April 28 at the Brandon High School cafeteria, 1025 S. Ortonville Road, she will be among approximately 130 area young people receiving accolades for making positive, volunteer contributions to their communities. Those contributions include tutoring at the library, cleaning up the yards of senior citizens, and donating time to the local food pantry.

Nominations come from schools, hospitals, churches, fire and police departments, and private citizens who have been helped by a youth. Local, county, and state dignitaries participate in the event.

"I am so extremely proud of all the youth in our community, and the fact that they willingly give of their time," said Fran Hotchkiss, chair of youth recognition. "A lot have contributed more than 60 hours to make our community better. They take time out of their busy schedules to make things nice and volunteer. We appreciate the wonderful youth in our community."

For more information on BGYA Youth Recognition Night, contact Fran Hotchkiss at 248-627-1462.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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