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Family honors Legacy employee as hero

Alex Hernandez is shown with Barbara Kerr, a resident of Legacy assisted living in Morris. Hernandez used the Heimlich maneuver recently on Kerr when she was choking. Kerr's family honored him as a hero on July 13. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

While he doesn't consider himself a hero, the relatives of Barbara Kerr do.

Alex Hernandez, an employee at the Legacy assisted living center in Morris, used the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge a pill which caused Kerr to choke.

"I was just doing my job," Hernandez said. "I think any other staff person would have jumped into help."

Hernandez saved her grandmother's life, Chayla Ostby said. "Things like this don't happen everyday," Ostby said.

Hernandez was in Kerr's room as she was taking her medication. "It happened pretty fast," he said. He noticed that Kerr was struggling and he applied the Heimlich.

Ostby and other families thanked Hernandez on July 13. Josh Fischer of the Stevens County Ambulance and a member of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association presented Hernandez with a certificate of heroism and hero lapel pin.

The attention was unexpected, Hernandez said. "I appreciate it very much," he said.

"He's a good guy. I really thank him," Kerr said.

Hernandez is from Pasadena, Texas, and is a student at the University of Minnesota Morris.

Legacy administrator Tara Ludwig said Hernandez was her first hire when she started at Legacy about two years ago. "He's a very dedicated, hard worker. He's very professional," Ludwig said.

And, he's also a hero, Kerr and her relatives said.