SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ — A Valley principal is being hailed as a hero after saving a grandparent who began choking at her school's Meet the Teacher night on June 30.
Laura Ridge, the principal of J.O. Combs Middle School in San Tan Valley, jumped into action after noticing a nearby grandparent was in distress.
"I couldn't even breathe...that's when the principal, she was nearby, and she wasted no time and asked if I was ok," said Jane, a grandmother of a Combs Middle School student. "She did the Heimlich on me...I turned around and gave her a hug. I was so appreciative of what she did. It was absolutely amazing; I love her."
Ridge was recognized for her life-saving act by the administration for the J.O. Combs Unified School District administration. Administration officials said Ridge's reputation for unwavering commitment to her students and families is longstanding throughout the district.
"Truly, her kids and her school are paramount in everything she does, and this is just one example where she's trying to do something to help out our community and our kids," said Superintendent Dr. Greg Wyman. "I believe she does a phenomenal job, and I'm proud of everything she did to help out this community member."
Ridge started at Combs as a parent on the Parent Teacher Organization and continued her journey as a student teacher, teacher, Dean of Students, and now Principal.
"That really is her personality, and her commitment to the community," said Director of Curriculum, Bruce Cox. "She's very aware, she's very engaged, and she is very committed to doing whatever necessary in the community."