BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two grocery store clerks from Buffalo are credited with saving a co-worker’s life.
That co-worker, Katherine Kenwell Cich, was choking on the job when two of her teammates wasted no time in helping her.
This rescue on the job happened inside a Feel-Rite Fresh Market exactly a week ago. Kenwell Cich, who was saved, still gets emotional about what happened and said she is deeply grateful for her co-workers Marcus Burley and Cody Brooks.
Kenwell Cich has worked at the Feel-Rite location on Delaware Avenue for 37 years. She says it’s a family atmosphere working there, and last week her family stepped up big. Katerine was on lunch break in the break room and started choking.
That’s when Burley and Brooks, two of her fellow clerks, immediately helped her out. Burley went to get help, while Brooks started performing the Heimlich Maneuver.
“I’m not kidding you, the speed was the part that just blew my mind how fast they helped me so efficiently and yeah they were the perfect team totally,” Kenwell Cich said, “I can’t even look them in the eyes anymore without welling up or like hugging, I just hugged Marcus [Burley] again, I’m like Marcus I need to hug you again so I mean what do you say when someone save’s your life.”
Somehow after all that, the three of them went back to work. The amazing thing is Brooks has only been working there a month.
“I was scared, I was scared because anything could happen anything could happen to anybody,” Brooks said. “Anybody who’s in a predicament like that you act fast because lives matter. You got to save lives. I’m not a medical professional but we got to at least know something.”
And Burley only works one day a week at this job — he picked a good day to come in. He’s not even trained in the Heimlich Maneuver; the rescue was his first time doing it.
“I heard her stop breathing and I kind of just freaked out just instinctively try to do my best to do the Heimlich Maneuver from everything I’ve seen,” Burley said. “I’ve never seen it done in person but I just tried to act as fast as I could … and trust my instincts and just had an urge to just help her and save her. I didn’t want anything to happen to her, Katherine’s awesome.”
The ordeal was certainly a scary situation, but one that’s brought them and this team closer together.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.