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Neighborhood Heroes: Elementary School custodian praised for saving a choking child

A custodian from Central Elementary School in Banning is being praised for his quick thinking after saving a student from choking during lunch.

Jack Sanchez has worked at the school for 16 years as a custodian. While his job has many duties, one he didn't expect was to play a part in helping a student who was choking.

Sanchez said he was cleaning tables in the cafeteria during lunch one afternoon when he noticed Joshua Dupri over a trashcan.

"I thought he was throwing up then I got a little closer and he was gasping for air,” Sanchez recalled.

Sanchez performed the Heimlich maneuver on Dupri when a grape came out of his mouth.

While it was a scary situation, Joshua's parents are grateful for Sanchez's quick thinking.

“The way I hear the story told I think if Jack was not there that day our son will not be here with us today, so he is definitely a blessing," said Joshua's mother, Charnesha Dupri.

“He is, he’s a hero," continued Joshua's father, Antonio Dupri.

Sanchez said he thanked the lord for putting him in the right place at the right time. He said that same morning he was contemplating calling out of work because of back pain. He's glad he didn't.

As he continues his work at the school, Sanchez keeps an even closer eye on the students to make sure they are okay.

The Banning City Council honored Sanchez for his heroism during a city council meeting on Tuesday.

Celebrating #NeighborhoodHeroes

Do you know of any everyday people who are going out of their way to help others? Have you seen someone find creative solutions to the new challenges we all face?

News Channel 3 wants to celebrate these neighborhood heroes. Tell us about them here. Enter HERE or email or If you see good happening on social media, share it with us, and tag it #neighborhoodheroes for us to see.

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez is a news reporter who joined the KESQ News Channel 3 team in June 2021. Learn more about Crystal here.


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