State Representative Ed Hooper, no stranger to saving lives, saves choking man

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State Representative Ed Hooper is no stranger to saving lives. With 28 years spent as a fireman, Hooper’s rescued more than his share of people.

Well, now he can add one more life to his list.

Recently, Hooper was eating dinner at A Land Remembered in Orlando after receiving an award presented to him by Associated Industries of Florida. Several of Hooper’s colleagues in the Florida House joined him for dinner.

It was then that Hooper saw a commotion at a nearby table. He immediately recognized the situation — a man was choking to death.

Hooper did not hesitate to take action.

“The man was choking, sitting in a chair, and a waiter was behind him trying to perform the Heimlich Maneuver,” said Hooper. “But, he was doing it wrong.”

Instinctively, Hooper stepped in, moved the waiter aside, while instructing him to get the choking man to his feet. The waiter responded that the man was too weak to stand, but Hooper insisted they get the man upright. They did.

With the first thrust from Hooper, the piece of steak the man was choking on popped out. The man — James Gamble of Sunriver, Oregon — resumed normal breathing.  It took a moment for Gamble’s wife, afraid that her husband was dying, to resume her own sense of normalcy.

“Go out tomorrow and do something good tomorrow,” Hooper told the man. “We don’t all get a tomorrow.”

Incidentally, Gamble said he would have liked to pick up the tab for Hooper’s dinner. But the law banning gifts to state legislators prohibited him from doing so.

Daphne Street contributed to this post.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.