By Scott L. Miley, Herald Bulletin Associate Features Editor
DALEVILLE, Ind. — David Joe “D.J.” Batthauer had always liked Cub Scouting for the Pinewood derby car races and the camping out. In early December, though, he was pretty glad Cub Scouts had taught him the life-saving Heimlich maneuver.
D.J., 11, saved his younger brother’s life by quickly performing the technique he learned through his Cub Scout Pack 74. In the summer of 2009, D.J. and other Scouts were taught the Heimlich during a camping night in the Batthauers’ backyard. Scoutmaster Paul Nunley led the group with assistance from D.J.’s mom, Julie, a registered nurse.
In December, younger brother Sam, 6, grabbed a handful of small, hard, star-shaped candy.
As D.J. explained, “He took candy from me. He took it because he knew I would get mad. He tried to swallow it and choked.”
What started as a brotherly prank turned serious. Sam fell to ground and grabbed his throat.
“He was laying on the ground holding his neck. At first he started to make some noise and stuff and rolling around. So I didn’t think he was kidding. I tried to get him to stand up. He wouldn’t so I got him on his knees.”
D.J. yelled for his mother, Julie, who was in another part of the house. When she got to them, she saw that D.J. had wrapped his arms around Sam, locked his hands together and was pulling back and up.
The candy soon shot out of Sam’s mouth.
Mom Julie rushed to their side and called dad, Andy, who was coming from work. He owns Big Stuff Body and Paint Works. Both boys go to Daleville Elementary School; Sam is in kindergarten and D.J. is in fifth grade. Next year, D.J., who is in his second year as a Webelos Scout, will move to the ranks of Boy Scout.
Cub Scout master Paul Nunley said the Heimlich was taught to the Scouts as part of a requirement to obtain an activity badge. They were instructed on how to assess the need for the Heimlich, how to stay calm and how to determine if they could handle the situation by themselves.
“You teach all those things and you hope it sinks. But even when it does, you’re surprised,” Nunley said. “I was delighted to hear he remembered it and helped his brother. It makes you proud.”