McGregor student who saved life of man choking at restaurant honored by city

October 11th proclaimed Humberto Benitez Day
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:18 PM CDT
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McGREGOR, Texas (KWTX) - A high school senior who saved a man choking in a local restaurant was recognized as a hero at the McGregor City Council meeting this week as the city issued a proclamation declaring October 11th Humberto Benitez Day.

Benitez, 17, a senior at McGregor High School, was presented with the proclamation by McGregor Mayor Jimmy Hering.

“We’ve got a proclamation for you because it’s not every day that someone gets an opportunity to save a life in McGregor,” Hering said as he called Benitez to the front of the room.

“It’s even more, I think, special, that as a high school senior, you had the quick thought and, really, what’s inside of you in your heart and in your spirit to do something like that. And it speaks great on behalf of all of us,” said Hering.

The proclamation states, “Whereas, by saving the man’s life Humberto became a hero that day.”

There’s video to prove it.

Benitez has been working as a dishwasher at the Coffee Shop Cafe in McGregor for about two years.

He said around closing time on September 9, he noticed a customer choking on food he got off the buffet.

“I work in the back, so I went to the front to get a water, and that’s when I noticed his face was turning red and a lot of saliva was coming out of his mouth,” said Benitez.

A woman attempted to help the man, but it wasn’t working. That’s when Benitez jumped into action, saving the man’s life by using the Heimlich maneuver, a skill he learned in his freshman health class taught by school nurse Amanda Franks.

The entire ordeal was caught on security footage at the restaurant.

Coffee Shop owners Valerie and Donald Citrano attended the city council meeting, and so did Franks.

Coffee Shop owners Valerie and Donald Citrano, and school nurse Amanda Franks attended the city...
Coffee Shop owners Valerie and Donald Citrano, and school nurse Amanda Franks attended the city council meeting.(Courtesy Photo)

“I’m just so proud of him for doing it. I was kind of just speechless, I was like ‘oh my gosh, look how great he did!’” Franks said.

“I tell them ‘some of y’all will be able to jump into action and some of y’all will freeze, and that’s ok. If all you can do is call 911 that’s great,’ but Humberto - he was able to remember the maneuver and jump into action,” said Franks.

Valerie said she couldn’t be prouder of her beloved employee.

“Donald and I are so proud of Junior and his quick action to step in and save a customer choking,” she said. “We are happy to have him as a valued member of our Coffee Shop family.”

Hering said Humberto’s actions didn’t just save a life but brought pride to the entire community of McGregor.

“We issued him a proclamation and got to celebrate him,” Hering said.

“We got to celebrate his kindness, his bravery, his courage and really his sweet compassionate spirit. So it was a good day for all of us and certainly a good day for the man that Humberto saved so be sure and spread the good news.”

The City of McGregor Proclamation honoring Humberto Benitez.
The City of McGregor Proclamation honoring Humberto Benitez.(Courtesy Photo)

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