Medical employee performs Heimlich, saves choking co-worker

By Michael Tuttle DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Kenneth Cummings was working at his desk June 22 when he heard some choking noises.

Up until that point, Arthur Tehson had been enjoying what he thought was a creme doughnut, leftover from a coworker’s baby shower earlier in the day.

The two Medical supply chain employees have sat in the same cubicle aisle since Cummings started at Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in March 2015. Cummings is in the Pathways to Career Excellence program and works in prime vendor order fulfillment.

Tehson is a tailored vendor logistics specialist and started in 1983 as a supply cataloger.

They said they greet each other every morning and say good night at the end of each day. When Cummings heard the choking noises, he stood up, turned around and saw Tehson with his hands clutching his throat.

Cummings learned the Heimlich maneuver during his 20-year Army career and while working as a corrections officer after retiring from the military.

Before his emergency response, Cummings said he thought to himself, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

Cummings got behind Tehson, joined his hands on Tehson’s chest, under the diaphragm, and thrusted them upward. The doughnut turned out to have an apple filling, which Tehson hadn’t expected.

Once Cummings heard Tehson gasp for air and knew he was OK, he stopped the Heimlich and sat back down at his desk. He started to type on his keyboard but his hands were shaking.

Cummings was back to work before Tehson knew who saved him.

Tehson said he was thankful that Cummings acted quickly.

“I’m grateful Kenneth was there and was trained,” Tehson said.