Burbank and the American Red Cross have honored a Burbank city employee who rescued his 5-year-old nephew from choking.
Mericio Ortega received the highest award from the Red Cross and a citation from Burbank Mayor Robert Bowne in a ceremony at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
Ortega, 46, rescued his nephew during a family picnic at Burbank's Foy Park in August. Bernie Ortega began choking on a piece of meat and his father, also named Bernie, tried to dislodge it but was unsuccessful. Mericio Ortega, who learned rescue procedures at a city-sponsored class in February, dislodged the meat with the Heimlich maneuver, pushing on the child's stomach.
"I pushed his stomach one time and nothing happened," said Mericio Ortega, who has worked as a surveyor for the city for 13 years. "I pushed again--then he started breathing."