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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    St. Elmo boy credited with saving little brother’s life


    Nine-year-old Tayten Walker was playing a video game when he noticed his 7-month-old brother, Camden, choking.

    Tayten quickly alerted his grandmother who was in the room with them.

    Camden was choking on a Velcro strap from a disposable diaper.

    The grandmother, who is a registered nurse, tried to pull the strap lodged down Camden’s throat out but was unsuccessful.

    Tayten then offered to try to remove it himself.

    “”I thought I could reach it on my own, because I have smaller hands. It was pretty far down his throat,”” recalled Tayten of the September 2010 incident.

    But Tayten knew what he had to do and his small nimble fingers were able to pull the strap out.

    “”I wasn’t scared,”” he said.

    Tayten’s grandmother, Donna Groninger, noted in a speech for an award the boy later received how her grandson remained calm throughout the ordeal.

    Tayten “”followed directions without question … His actions and behavior were indispensable in saving his brother’s life,”” Groninger wrote.

    Tayten, now 10, doesn’t think anything of his heroic actions, but both he and his mother, Tamela Polanin, who was not in the room at the time of the incident, are relieved.

    “”As any mom, I’m very happy my son did this amazing thing,”” she said.

    Tayten had been exposed to some first aid training through pregnancy classes she took him to for CPR and to help prepare siblings for the new arrival, as well as lessons learned with the Cub Scouts, of which he is a member.

    “”Several times he’s had training, but I didn’t know how much he was paying attention, but he was,”” she said.

    Tayten’s quick response earned him a Boy Scouts of America Medal of Honor award. The St. Elmo resident, along with Payton Beck of Mattoon, are the only two since 1967 to earn a meritorious action award in the Lincoln Trail Council region, which covers 13 counties in central Illinois.

    Although Polanin is proud of her son’s achievement, what he did that day goes beyond a medal.

    “”The award doesn’t seem to matter to me. The fact he saved his little brother’s life does,”” she said.

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