Mary Hawk has been a Local 328 member employed at Aramark in Westerly, Rhode Island, for five years. For the last four years, she has worked in the cafeteria at the Dunn’s Corner Elementary School.
Last month, Mary was working at the register when she saw a child stand up and approach her. She immediately noticed something was wrong, identified that he was choking and jumped into action. Mary, being trained in CPR, performed the life-saving Heimlich maneuver and the meatball that was obstructing his passageway came flying out. “I am just so happy that he approached me and our eyes had locked. I knew something was wrong.”
Rebecca Imbriglio, a Lead at the elementary school and union steward, who was working in the kitchen at the time of the incident, added, “Sometimes we have reputations as just being “lunch ladies”, but we are parents, grandparents, caretakers.”
On April 6th, 2023, Mary was greeted by elected and school officials, who presented her with a Senate Citation, honoring her heroic action. Those in attendance included State Senator Victoria Gu, State Representative Samuel Azzinaro, Superintendent Marc Garceau, Asisstant Superintendent Alicia Storey and Principal Steven Morrone.
When asked what she enjoys the most about her job, Mary shared, “The best part of my job, without a doubt, are the kids.” Mary raised her family in Westerly where all three of her kids received their education, and now resides in Norwich, CT, where she enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren.
We applaud Mary for her heroic action of saving a child’s life and offer our gratitude to all cafeteria workers who serve an essential role in our schools each day.