CNI employee praised for saving choking child
Becky Grimmett Bearpaw, of Stilwell, and an employee of Cherokee Nation Industries, takes a photo with Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. during the Oct. 15 Tribal Council meeting. Tribal officials said Bearpaw saved a girl who was choking on candy during this year’s Cherokee National Holiday parade. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – From atop a float in this year’s Cherokee National Holiday parade, Becky Grimmett Bearpaw noticed a child choking on candy, then without hesitation sprang into action.
“She’s celebrating on the float,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “She sees this child in distress. She immediately removes herself from the float, dislodges the piece of candy, makes sure the girl is safe, then gets back on the float.”
For her efforts, Bearpaw, of Stilwell, a Cherokee Nation citizen and employee of Cherokee Nation Industries, received special recognition and a certificate during the Tribal Council’s Oct. 15 meeting.
“I’m thankful to be able to serve my people and just be there when I’m needed,” she said. “I’m just very thankful.”
The Cherokee National Holiday parade took place Aug. 31 in Tahlequah.
“She saved a young girl’s life,” Hoskin said. “She didn’t bring attention to herself, and she would not have brought attention to herself. But I think it’s attention that should be brought to her for her bravery, her quick thinking and just as important, I think, her inspiration to each and every one of us to train ourselves up and to make sure we’re in a position to hopefully do what needs to be done in those situations.”
Hoskin added that Bearpaw saved the child using skills obtained via the Cherokee Nation Businesses first-aid/CPR course. Matthew McCrary, CNB senior safety manager, said he helped provide some of Bearpaw’s training.
“It’s awesome to know that what we do as a company and a department benefits people not only in their job, but in their home life as well,” he said.
CNB is the holding company for the tribe’s for-profit businesses. The CN and its businesses employ a workforce of 11,000, tribal officials said.