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A Hero: Texas Teen Jumps Off Float to Save Choking Toddler’s Life During Homecoming Parade Then ‘Ran Back and Got on the Float’

A high school cheerleader is being hailed as a hero after she managed to hop off a homecoming float to save a boy’s life — and then jumped right back on.

Tyra Winters is a student at Rockwall High School in Rockwall, Texas, and as she waved to the crowd at the school’s homecoming parade on Sept. 18, she was forced to stop waving down and spring into action when 2-year-old Clarke began choking on a piece of candy.

tyra winters
Rockwall High School cheerleader and local hero Tyra Winters. (Photo: @rockwallisd/Instagram)

“He was turning purple, so 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,” the varsity head cheerleader tells CBS 11 of what she saw after Clarke’s panicked mother cried for help. “I grabbed him and tilted him and I gave a good three back thrusts and he ended up spitting up.”

The boy’s mother, Nicole Hornback, had tried in vain to give her son the Heimlich maneuver once she turned to see her son not making any noise or movements.

“There was no coughing, there was no breathing,” Hornback said to NBCDFW. “He was just physically choking, just gagging, and just gasping for air.”

The worried mom said she “literally ran from bystander to bystander, just trying to pass him off to whoever would take him. But I was so distraught, I couldn’t speak.”

Yet it was 17-year-old Tyra who saw the commotion and grabbed the toddler to assist. She said as soon as she knew the boy resumed breathing, she hopped right back onto the float.

“So I gave the kid back to his mom and I ran and got back on the float before I missed it,” she said.

Hornback credits Tyra for saying her son’s life.

“She saved my baby,” she said.

The mom and student didn’t know each other, and Hornback wanted to thank her. Not knowing how to get in touch, she wrote a Facebook status remarking on the teen. School administrators noticed it, and Clarke and Tyra were reunited along with the toddler’s mom and older brother on Oct. 1.

But Clarke didn’t exactly remember his hero.

“It’s hard for him because he’s so young,” Hornback told ABC News. “He doesn’t even remember what he ate for breakfast.”

Still, the youngster and the high school senior managed to share a high-five. And it’s likely a good thing that Clarke doesn’t recognize Tyra, who remains humble despite being considered a local hero.

“I know they’re calling me the town hero,” she tells her local NBC station. “It’s super exciting to own that title. But, most importantly, I’m just glad the boy is OK.”

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