On Wednesday, August 14, J.O. Combs Middle School Principal Laura Ridge received a once in a lifetime acknowledgement at the J.O. Combs Unified School District Governing Board meeting. In her line of work as a principal, it's not uncommon to change lives, but Principal Ridge took that one step further two weeks ago when she also saved one.
After noticing a nearby grandparent choking at the school's Meet the Teacher night on July 30, Ridge wasted no time jumping into action, ultimately giving the woman the Heimlich maneuver and saving her life.
"I couldn't even breathe...that's when the principal, she was nearby, and she wasted no time and asked if I was ok," said Jane, a grandmother of a Combs Middle School student. "She did the Heimlich on me...I turned around and gave her a hug. I was so appreciative of what she did. It was absolutely amazing, I love her."
Upon hearing about her heroic act, administration of the J.O. Combs Unified School District was not surprised, as Ridge's reputation for unwavering commitment to her students and families is longstanding throughout the district. Initially starting at Combs as a parent on PTO, and continuing her journey as a student teacher, teacher, Dean of Students, and now Principal, Ridge proudly and often refers to the Combs community as her family.
"That really is her personality, and her commitment to the community," said Director of Curriculum, Bruce Cox. "She's very aware, she's very engaged, and she is very committed to doing whatever necessary in the community."
"Truly, her kids and her school are paramount in everything she does, and this is just one example where she's trying to do something to help out our community and our kids," said Superintendent Dr. Greg Wyman. "I believe she does a phenomenal job and I'm proud of everything she did to help out this community member."
As far as the community member, she too will never forget the impact Ridge has had on her life, or her granddaughter who currently attends Combs Middle School.
"It's a great school, everybody is so helpful and friendly," said Jane. "And the principal is an amazing, amazing person. I love her to pieces, I really do."
Watch the full story in the video below.