Chicago Eighth-Grader Saves Two Lives in One Week

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A Chicago eighth-grader saved the lives of his best friend and his teacher all in one week. Travon Avery, 13, was honored as a hero on the “Steve Harvey Show” Thursday, where he received a $10,000 college scholarship from Sallie Mae’s U Promise program.

"My mom taught me if someone needed help not to just stand there and not do anything, but to make an effort and try," Travon told ABC News.

In January, Travon’s best friend Jose Duran at Herget Middle School in Aurora was eating something, when he began choking, his eyes tearing up.

"He was eating candy and I made him laugh and then the candy got stuck in throat and he started choking. Everyone around was in shock," Travon told ABC News in an interview Friday. "So I put my hand under his rib cage three times and did the Heimlich."

Rushing into action, Travon was able to save his friend’s life.

"I thought I was going to lose my friend. It was very scary," Travon said.

Two days later, when a teacher fainted, Travon immediately went into action to help her as well.

"She wasn't acting normal, so we were paying very close attention to her. Then she leaned over on the board and closed her eyes. We thought she was just sleeping, but she was passed out," he said. "I checked to see if she was breathing and she was, so I ran out of the class and got the nurse."

An ambulance came for his teacher, Crystal Ruffin-Mason. Later that night his mother was informed by the school that Ruffin-Mason had been suffering migraines, but was now alright.

"They said that his quick action really helped avert something serious happening to his teacher," the teacher said. "And they wanted to check on Travon because he was shaken up. They wanted to make sure he was okay emotionally."

On Thursday, Travon was invited to the “Steve Harvey Show” where he was recognized as Harvey’s Hero. Sallie Mae also presented him with a $10,000 check for college.

"I'm so proud of him," said his mother. "That was so wonderful. Now he's so motivated and excited about college."

The teen insisted his mother deserves all the credit. He said students should learn more about first aid than sports.

"So you normally have camp for sports, but we should have a camp for teaching people CPR and the Heimlich," he suggested. "Even just a couple days a week where kids come out and learn."

Sources: ABC News, Fort Mills Times