Cheerleader jumps off her homecoming parade float to save choking toddler in the crowd

As they say, not all heroes wear capes! While on the school float on her homecoming parade, Tyra Winters, 17, proved just that when she saved a toddler who was choking on a piece of candy.

At the homecoming parade of Rockwall High School, near Dallas, Texas, the young cheerleader was on the school’s float with members of the cheer-leading squad and the football team. While waving to people on the street, there were murmurs of a child choking, and she heard a woman calling for help.

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Quickly scanning the crowd, she saw a distressed toddler in his mother’s arms. The little boy’s face was turning ‘super, super red’, she recalled.

Without a second thought, Winters jumped off the float and administered the Heimlich maneuver on the child.  Two-year old Clarke Hornback was having great difficulty breathing, and according to Winters, “At this point, he’s kind of turning purple.”

Her quick actions certainly saved the child’s life.  “I picked him up and then I tilted him downwards and gave him two or three back thrusts. He then was spitting everything up.”

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The choking incident happened quickly, and came as a total surprise. According to the child’s mother, Nicole Hornback, “I was sitting right next to him. I just happened to look over. There was no noise, no coughing, no breathing. He was just physically choking, just gagging, and just gasping for air.”

She performed the Heimlich maneuver on her son, but was not successful.  “I just literally was holding him out and just running through the crowd trying to hand him off to anyone.  But I was so distraught, I couldn’t speak.”

Winters then arrived on the scene and quickly took over the situation.  She said, “I immediately jumped off the float, I ran down to the kiddo, and I was like, ‘I got him,’ and I grabbed him from the mom.”

Cheerleader hugs mom of the toddler she saved.
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Hornback praised Winters for her courage and quick thinking, and willingness to take a child’s life in her own hands.  Winters’ mother had taught her how to perform the Heimlich maneuver a few years ago.  She said, “I knew exactly what to do from that point on.” She is also trained in CPR as her mother runs a group home for foster children.

Everything happened so fast that Hornback never had the chance to properly thank her child’s savior.  Instead, she shared details of the Winters’ lifesaving actions of Facebook.  When school administrators saw the post, they arranged for Winters and the Hornbacks to meet.

The toddler saved by the cheerleader.
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In the emotional reunion, Hornback said, “She saved my baby.  I commend her for being a teenager and being trainedI don’t really have any words.  The words that you would say to anyone who does something for you is ‘thank you.’ But that doesn’t seem good enough.”

Winters, on the other hand, simple stated that Clark was saved, and that was the best part of the situation.  “I know they’re calling me the town hero.  It’s super exciting to own that title. But, most importantly, I’m just glad the boy is okay.”

Watch the video below to learn more about our hero: