LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – A Lubbock woman gave her husband the best gift right before their 33rd wedding anniversary, one the Lubbock Fire Department wanted to recognize her for.
Seconds really do count in life and death situations and that's what Judy and Roy Farrell learned during lunch one day back in September.
"It was instinct. I just stayed calm," explained Judy Farrell as she recalled that day. She and her husband were at work at The Home Zone. They run and operate the family business together. Around lunch time, Roy walked out of the office and she immediately knew something was wrong. "He wasn't getting air and he was making a weird noise."
"A lot of things go through your mind," said Roy about that day. He was eating a chicken sandwich and bent over to pick up a piece that dropped and that's when part of his lunch got stuck in his throat. Roy started to slump, see stars and change colors.
Judy immediately asked another girl in the store to call 911 and she froze. Judy jumped into action. She quickly grabbed her husband and began doing what she has seen on television before. With no formal training, other than being a mother of four, she started to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
"She was put in a high stress life or death situation and she passed with flying colors," said LFD Lt. Brett Assiter who was first on the scene. "We walked in and Mrs. Farrell said he's okay."
"My husband kept saying you are my hero you saved my life," said Farrell. She expected cameras at her store shortly after lunch for a commercial, but had no idea that Lubbock firefighters planned to present her with a Letter of Commendation recognizing her heroic acts.
"We don't get to do this often to recognize a citizen for a heroic act so today is great," Deputy Chief Chris Angerer said. Angerer believes that if Farrell had not acted so quickly his crews might have been faced with a different and potentially deadly situation. "For us to arrive and see the emergency is taken care of is huge."
All along, Farrell expected help to arrive within moments since Fire Station 8 is right across the street, but they were already out on a call so it took first responders a few minutes longer then they had hoped.
"Of course you do everything you can," said Farrell about saving her husband's life.
"My dad wouldn't have survived had my mom not done that and I wouldn't expect anything less from her," said the Farrell's daughter Lauren who helped organize the surprise.
Firefighters know Judy saved her best friend's life. "I love my wife and she loves me," said Farrell who bought his wife a new piece of jewelry for Christmas.
The Farrells and first responders hope that this story will inspire people to take the chance to learn what to do in similar situations.