When you’re trained by the military, you’re conditioned to be prepared for most situations at any time.
Even if you’re off duty, you know that when it’s go time, one can’t waste any moments. And that was the case in this scenario.
In February 2018, Amber Strother was in her Pensacola apartment with her 2-year-old son, Rylan. The young boy happened to be snacking while his mother was preoccupied elsewhere.
Everything was normal until Strother heard something out of the ordinary coming from her son.
“He started making a weird noise I had never heard,” she told USA TODAY.
Her son was choking on a grape.
Upon realizing this, she tried to force the grape out herself, but nothing she was doing was working.
The mother knew she had to act fast. But if she couldn’t help her son, who could?
Then, an idea popped into her head.
The woman’s neighbor is a member of the United States Marine Corps—Sergeant Tyler Harman.
Strother immediately ran to the nearby apartment, and luckily Harman was home at the time, though he was far from ready to spring into action.
“I was still in my boxers,” he said about his status at the time.
But without hesitating, the Marine rushed to the child and his military CPR training came into play.
He started with hitting the boy’s back, but then resorted to reaching into the boy’s throat to remove the food manually.
With this method, the Marine was finally able to dislodge the grape.
By the time paramedics arrived, Rylan was breathing fine again.
“I don’t want to think about what could’ve happened if he hadn’t known what to do,” Strother said.
And the ironic thing is that Harman didn’t even tell his fellow Marines about his actions that day; it was the little boy’s grandfather who did so.
Then again, there’s nothing wrong with being humble. But when they heard this, Harman’s squadron didn’t want his actions to go unrecognized.
In a June 2018 ceremony, with Rylan in his arms, Harman was given the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
And as he was rewarded, Harman stressed the importance of taking the training seriously to his fellow Marines.
“I hope for you Marines that you understand that there is a reason for all the training you get . . . even something as simple as a three-hour CPR class,” he said.
And as for Rylan, the boy is celebrating his third birthday soon.
According to his mother, he is still at it eating grapes, just probably more slowly this time around.
Not only was Harman able to uphold his duty as a Marine, but he saved a little boy in the process.
Because of the Marine, Rylan will get to see many more birthdays, and the kid knows that his hero will always be next door, should he get into more trouble in the future.