Marilyn Merksick didn’t want any awards after she rescued a kindergartner at Lincoln Elementary School, but she got one anyway.
Ten days ago, Merksick used the Heimlich maneuver on a little girl who had chicken nuggets stuck in her throat in the lunchroom. Merksick's actions helped discharge some of the troublesome food and allowed the girl to breathe until an ambulance took her to the hospital, where she fully recovered.
On Tuesday, Merksick received a “Shining Star” award in front of the school board and top administrators.
Merksick told the Bulletin she has worked at various jobs at Lincoln Elementary for 29 years. She retired from the kitchen four years ago after she broke a leg because she thought she wouldn’t be able to do much work again. But she recovered better than expected, so she volunteered to keep on working.
“She takes care of the technical (lunchroom) work that needs to be done,” Lincoln Principal Matt Irish said. “She’s good at it. And most importantly, she’s good at doing the loving that needs to be done.”
Merksick said she was sitting across from the little girl in the lunchroom when she saw she was in trouble.
“She wasn’t coughing or choking,” she said. “But I could tell by the look in her eye.”
Merksick received the award for her long-term volunteer status as well the help she gave the little girl.