Wedgwood Elementary School teacher Domenick Renzi performed the Heimlich maneuver on fifth-grader Mark Albert on Jan. 22
Gloucester County Freeholder Dan Christy visited Wedgwood Elementary School on Tuesday, Feb. 6, with another special accolade for basic skills math teacher Domenick Renzi. Christy brought a certificate from the Board of Freeholders honoring Renzi for the life-saving efforts he made on Jan. 22.
Renzi, the reigning Gloucester County Teacher of the Year, quickly jumped into action when Wedgwood fifth-grader Mark Albert came up to him and signaled that he was choking. Renzi started the Heimlich maneuver on Albert, but his first two attempts could not clear Albert’s breathing path. Renzi’s third try immediately dislodged a mozzarella stick, saving Albert’s life.
“It’s really a very special thing that Mr. Renzi did, and this community really appreciates it,” Christy said after surprising Renzi in Kristi Attardi’s first-grade classroom. “The real heroes are right here in your classroom, teaching you and keeping you safe.”
The humble Renzi thanked Christy and the freeholders for the honor, and explained to the young students that he would do it for any of them — he just hopes he never has to.
“I didn’t know Mark before that, but we’re best friends now,” Renzi told the class. “We used to just pass each other in the hallway. Now, he sees me and says hello and gives me a high five. I’m just happy I was able to help.”