Life-saving program


My eyes welled up as I watched Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley read his proclamation and award it to my son, Chase Matzen Rao, at Village Hall on the evening of April 10. Next, Southampton Village Police Chief William Wilson spoke and handed Chase a letter of commendation. That very morning, Southampton Intermediate School Principal Tim Frazier awarded Chase, with David Conklin on-stage, a National Honor Society award for the display of character and action Chase took by performing the Heimlich maneuver on David on March 19 in the school cafeteria.

From the deepest part of my heart, I would like to thank these great men, as well as Brendan O’Reilly, who wrote an incredible article on Chase in The Southampton Press [“Boy’s Quick Action Saves Life,” April 10].

As a single mother, to have these men shed their graces upon my son has been a moment in time that I will remember forever. In the week since then, Chase and I have talked about the new feeling of empowerment Chase now carries with him.

On April 15, I stood before the Southampton School Board and asked to have the Heimlich maneuver taught to the fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders every year, permanently. Don King, president of the School Board, assured me that this program will be included in the SIS curriculum immediately.

Next, I am going to Tuckahoe School and I was asked to speak to OLH and Hampton Bays schools. Of course I will, and I will send a request to Governor David Paterson to install a program in all the schools in New York State.

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