When Lawrence “Ty” Tyrell’s friend Mekhi Abel began choking at lunch one day in early April, Ty knew exactly what to do to save the boy – perform the Heimlich maneuver on him. The action saved Mekhi’s life; therefore, Smyrna School District officials decided to honor Ty in a ceremony April 4 during the fourth grade lunch at Smyrna Elementary School.

Smyrna School District Superintendent Debbie Wicks honored Ty at lunch on April 4 with a certificate. Following the ceremony, Mekhi and Ty talked about what happened. Both students are fourth graders at SES.

Ty said Mekhi was choking on a chicken nugget and banging on the table. One of Mekhi’s friends thought he was joking. When Ty realized it wasn’t a joke, he quickly sprang into action and performed the Heimlich maneuver.

“I stood behind him and squeezed his stomach to dislodge the food from him,” Ty said.

Mekhi said he was really grateful for Ty saving his life.

“I was scared that I was going to die. Kids were saying, ‘Is it real? Is it real?’ when Ty jumped up to help,” Mekhi said.

Ty said saving Mekhi’s life felt good, but this wasn’t his first real-life experience with the Heimlich maneuver; his sister saved his life before when he was choking.

Ty’s mother Cheryl said she is proud of him.

“He was paying it forward because a few years ago his sister [Lauren] did the same thing for him,” Cheryl said.

Moreover, their family has multiple generations of heroes. Cheryl said both Ty and Lauren are heroes saving lives by doing the Heimlich maneuver while their father Lawrence Tyrell Sr. is a disabled veteran.

“We’re all proud of him of his accomplishments,” Cheryl said about Lawrence Sr. “He’s a generous and caring father.”

Referring back to Ty’s lifesaving action, Cheryl said he did a good deed.

“He should be recognized for doing something positive in his life,” Cheryl said.