Last month, Mary Hawk, a five-year Local 328 member employed at Aramark in Westerly who has worked in the cafeteria at the Dunn’s Corner Elementary School the last four years, was working at the register when she saw a child stand up and approach her.

Hawk knew immediately something was wrong, identified that that the child was choking and jumped into action. Hawk, who is trained in CPR, performed the life-saving Heimlich maneuver and the meatball that was obstructing the student's passageway came flying out.

“I am just so happy that he approached me and our eyes had locked," Hawk said. "I knew something was wrong.”

“Sometimes we have reputations as just being 'lunch ladies,' but we are parents, grandparents, caretakers," said Steward Rebecca Imbriglio, who was working in the kitchen at the time of the incident.

Earlier this month Hawk was greeted by elected and school officials, who presented her with a Senate citation honoring her heroic action. Those in attendance included State Sen. Victoria Gu, State Rep. Samuel Azzinaro, Superintendent Marc Garceau, Assistant Superintendent Alicia Storey and Principal Steven Morrone.

When asked what she enjoys the most about her job, Hawk said, “the best part of my job, without a doubt, are the kids.”

Hawk, who raised her family in Westerly where all three of her kids received their education, now lives in Norwich, where she enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren.

Photo 1: from left, Morrone, Rep. Azzinaro, Hawk, Sen. Gu, Imbriglio, Storey, Garceau

Photo 2: Hawk receiving the citation from Sen. Gu

Photo 3: Hawk being congratulated by the group

Photo 4: Hawk and Imbriglio

Photo 5: The citation 

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