Banning school custodian hailed a hero for quick actions that saved kindergartner's life

Leo Stallworth Image
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
IE school custodian's quick actions save kindergartner's life
A local school custodian is getting the recognition he deserves for his quick thinking actions that saved a choking kindergartner's life.

BANNING, Calif. (KABC) -- A school custodian is getting the recognition he deserves for his quick thinking actions that saved the life of a kindergartner.

Jack Sanchez has been a custodian at Central Elementary School in Banning for many years, where he has kept a watchful eye on the students. And at no time was that more important than on Sept. 19. His care and instincts saved the life of Joshua Dupre. The youngster considers Sanchez a hero because he saved him while he was choking.

There were students from a dozen classrooms having lunch that day, but Sanchez was able to notice Joshua struggling to breathe.

"He was gasping for air and I ran over there and got on my knees and started pumping his stomach and that grape just popped out," said Sanchez.

The school's principal Marcia Cole-Fijabi said Sanchez is very humble and not used to recognition. However, the school wanted to make sure his actions were recognized, so he was given a certificate of appreciation for saving the youngster's life.

"We made sure we did make a big deal out of it and help him understand that's something wonderful, for you to be that observant during the biggest lunch we have which is 12 classes," said Principal Cole-Fijabi. "He acted quickly because he knew that student needed help quickly."

"It still hasn't registered in my head yet, you know, that I saved somebody's life, "said Sanchez.

Joshua's parents, Charnesha and Antonio Dupre, also wanted to make sure Sanchez felt the family's gratitude.

"I just wanted Jack to know how grateful I was and how he's a blessing for our family. Because that could have been a very, very sad day for us," said Charnesha. "Without him ... I can't even imagine where we would be right now. It would just be very sad."

"We're definitely grateful that he was there and was able to save the day," said Antonio.