Airport security checkpoint

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer working at an Alaskan airport is being heralded as a hero for performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a traveler choking on a grape last week.

Juneau International Airport Lead Transportation Security Officer Brenda Irizarry was working Wednesday when a distressed passenger came to a security checkpoint and informed agents that a woman was choking.

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According to the Juneau Empire, Irizarry rushed to the scene and immediately began performing the Heimlich Maneuver while TSA supervisor Jessie Ashton called emergency services. The maneuver worked and Irizarry was able to dislodge the grape from the throat of 26-year-old Nicole Studley.

“Brenda’s quick action saved [my daughter] from certain hospitalization while waiting at Alaska Airlines,” Nicole’s father James told TSA officials. “[My daughter] had swallowed a large grape and was choking; another waiting passenger ran to TSA for help. Brenda, after several attempts using the Heimlich Maneuver, got the grape to pop out to the floor of the terminal. God bless you Brenda, thank you.”

Studley was traveling with her family to a wedding in California when the incident occurred. She has multiple physical disabilities and had recently been hospitalized for five weeks in Anchorage.

Irizarry’s actions not only helped save Studley’s life, but it also helped keep the family out of the hospital and on schedule for their family vacation.

“As Assistant Federal Security Director, I believe words are simply insufficient to describe the overwhelming sense of gratitude, relief, and pride upon receiving the news of Ashton’s leadership and Irizarry’s heroic actions,” Alaska Assistant Federal Security Director Dave McDermott said in a statement.