NEW DIANA, TX (KLTV) - With the help of an elementary school teacher and two educational aides, an Upshur County deputy saved a little girl's life.
"He's my friend," Aaliyah says.
It's a friendship that will last a lifetime, and thanks to Deputy Clay, Aaliyah's life time will be a long and happy one.
"I have 365 grandkids, and she is one of them," Deputy Clay says.
As he holds back tears, Deputy Clay Robertson relives one of the worst days of his life; May 1, when four-year-old Aaliyah stopped breathing.
"It may have been only a minute or two, but it seemed like forever; we just did what we could," Robertson says.
It was a day like any other at Hunt Elementary School; Aaliyah was eating her Lunchable in the cafeteria, as she always did at 11:30.
"Her eyes were really watery, and she had a strange look on her face, I asked if she was okay and she shook her head no," Pre – K teacher Britney Reavis says.
Reavis immediately started doing the Heimlich, but whatever was in her throat stayed lodged.
"Then I tried and tried, and I couldn't get it to move either, so I picked her up and ran her to the nurse's office," intervention aid Thressa Lloyd says.
At this point it's been 60 painful seconds since Aaliyah took a breath.
"Deputy Clay tried to do the Heimlich just to give it a little more pressure, and he said, 'it's not moving,' so I said 'we are going to have to sweep her throat,'" kindergarten teacher Kerry Krinke says.
Finally, after three attempts of the Heimlich maneuver, and a finger down her throat, Aaliyah swallowed.
"Thank the lord we were able to get it done," Robertson says.
Aaliyah has completely recovered from the incident and says she loves Deputy Clay very much.