Jefferson County security officer saves man from choking

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 11:31 PM CST
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BESSEMER, Ala. (WBRC) - A man is alive and breathing, all thanks to a Jefferson County security officer jumping in to help while out to eat in Bessemer.

The miracle happened inside her favorite restaurant Bright Star on December 22.

“When I saw his face, I knew I needed to help right away,” said Officer Suzette Whitted.

She was in uniform at the restaurant and explains that a man sitting a few feet away stood up and motioned toward her. He was choking and couldn’t breathe.

“Went into mode thinking, ‘Okay, this is a Heimlich Maneuver situation,” she said.

Though she was nervous, her training kicked in right away.

“At that point, I started thinking, ‘Is this really working?’” she wondered. “My coworker who was in front of me said, ‘Suzette. I think you got it’ after so many pumps.’ When we looked down, all of the food had thrust from his throat.”

Suzette said the entire room burst into applause once the man could breathe again.

“One of the most emotional moments for me was when his little girl came over teary-eyed saying, ‘Thank you for saving my dad’s life,;” said the officer.

Suzette got a photo with the man who she now knows as BJ Parker. The two strangers, now bonded for life.

“As far as my duty -- it’s to help and I always try to help,” said Officer Whitted. “It’s just an honor to be able to save a life because there are so many people losing their life.”

The officer and hero will be honored Thursday morning at the Jefferson County Commission meeting for her bravery.

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