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Jul 13, 2010 5:35 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton teenager uses Heimlich maneuver to save boy

Jul 13, 2010 5:35 PM

A recent work break at the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club in Hampton Bays was no day at the beach 
for Cheyne Finocchiaro of Southampton.

The 17-year-old was tossing a Frisbee with some other guys during a spare moment from his cooking duties as a club chef on the last day of June, when he noticed a young boy in distress. The boy, whom Cheyne estimated to be around 11 years old, was toting a bag of ice to cool himself off in the sweltering summer sun and began sucking some ice cubes.

Then things turned sour.

“He started to drool, and I could see he was choking,” explained Cheyne, who serves as the elected captain of the Southampton Fire Department Juniors and is also a helper for the Southampton Volunteer Ambulance. “I asked him, ‘Are you choking?’ And he gave me a nod.”

Cheyne sprang into action.

Drawing upon his Heimlich maneuver training, Cheyne applied one firm upward thrust to dislodge two ice cubes from the choking boy’s throat. In one deft stroke of the emergency rescue procedure, Cheyne had averted disaster—though he didn’t tell anyone about it.

“He’s kind of modest and humble,” noted his mother, Jenn Finocchiaro. “I actually only knew about it because a friend mentioned it to my family over the weekend”—several days later. She added that she could not be prouder of her son.

“It came off as not really a big deal. He’s healthy and safe,” said Cheyne, who joined the Fire Department Juniors as soon as he reached the minimum age requirement of 12, and aspires to become a senior firefighter like his uncle, Michael Finocchiaro, who was named the 
department’s Fireman of the Year in 2008.

“I’m very proud of him,” commented Fire Department Chief Buddy Wines. “He’s a great 
example of what we’re trying to accomplish with the Juniors program.”

Established in 2002, the department’s Juniors program is designed to foster volunteerism in local youth and to groom them for a future with the volunteer fire department.

Entering his senior year at Southampton High School, Cheyne plans to attend college and possibly study engineering, he said.

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley and the Village Board will bestow an official proclamation honoring Cheyne at its next work session at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, at Village Hall.

“I’ve known Cheyne his whole life. I know his family,” the mayor said. “I’m not surprised by Cheyne’s actions at all, because that’s the kind of person he is—someone who will step up and save someone’s life and know how to do it. Knowing Cheyne, he probably didn’t 
bat an eye.”

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Well done Cheyne. A true testament to the fact that if you get our youth involved in the community early in life, with a focus on helping others coupled with acts of kindness and selflessness that we can all be proud.

From the surf crew at Old Town and the Cut, we salute you Cheyne.
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Jul 15, 10 10:24 PM
What a wonderful story--it brought me very close to tears. I am a true advocate for requiring that CPR be a mandatory course in our school systems. Just think of all of the great kids like Cheyne that would be out there looking out for the rest of us!
By Mrs.Sea (258), Sag Harbor on Jul 16, 10 10:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
Very good idea. And great work Cheyne!
By nsea93 (39), Southampton on Jul 17, 10 12:40 AM
Good man!
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jul 16, 10 11:49 AM
Cheyne has always been a great kid! Thanks for printing this story.

Well done Cheyne!
By bb (772), Hampton Bays on Jul 18, 10 9:17 AM
good job kid-- i wonder how many "adults" were there who didn't act, or didn't know what to do
By CaptainSig (650), Dutch Harbor on Jul 18, 10 10:49 PM
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