Davis, Zeeb honored for heroics

Sarpy County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Jones reads a citation honoring Sheriff Jeff Davis and retired Lt. Russ Zeeb for their actions saving the life of a woman who was choking. Accompanied by family members, Zeeb is the second from left while Davis is at far right.


The Sarpy County Board room was unusually full July 16 as dozens gathered to honor Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis and retired Lt. Russ Zeeb.

The two men saved a South Dakota woman from choking to death May 28 while they were on a fishing trip in Chamberlain, S.D.

Davis and Zeeb were leaving a local restaurant when Davis noticed a woman inside who appeared to be choking, according to the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office.

The woman was turning blue and clutching her throat, which the press release described as “universal” signs of choking. Zeeb's initial attempts to apply the Heimlich maneuver proved unsuccessful.

Davis then administered the maneuver between six and 10 times, the woman appearing to get a little more breath with each try.

Eventually the woman's breathing was restored and declared normal by the time rescue crews arrived. The woman was transported to a local hospital.

The citation accompanying the award noted Davis and Zeeb visited the woman in the hospital to ensure that all was going well.

The citation said that the victim, as well as her family members, were convinced she would have died without intervention from Zeeb and Davis. A relative had already unsuccessfully attempted the Heimlich maneuver, the citation said.

According to that relative, “out of nowhere two men arrived and took charge,” the citation said.

The victim was “very grateful that the two of them were there that night and were willing to get involved.”

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