RAVENNA – A Ravenna teen was honored at last week’s American Red Cross Acts of Courage banquet for saving his friend who was choking using a procedure he said he had seen on a poster on the door at the local Dairy Queen. 

In February 2017, Eathan Cobbin and best friend Christian Neff were eating lunch at Brown Middle School in Ravenna when Christian began choking on a mozzarella cheese stick. While friends surrounding the pair thought Neff was joking, Eathan, who was 13 at the time, said he watched as his friend turned bright red and thought "someone had to do something."

Despite being nervous, Eathan began to administer the Heimlich maneuver. He said he had seen the safety procedure on the door at the Dairy Queen, remembered the illustrations on the poster.

"I just ran around the table and got behind him and tried to push on his stomach," Eathan said. He said the teachers were across the room from them. 

"I was just hoping someone would do something because I wasn’t able to get (the cheese) up," Christian said. He added it meant a lot to him that it was Eathan, his best friend, who helped him out. 

"I am probably going to remember this for the rest of my life," he said. 

Afterward Christian was shaken. Teacher Ann Kester said he was crying and said to her, "It was so scary I thought I was going to die." She said Eathan meanwhile, went about his day. 

Kester learned about the the Red Cross program and nominated Eathan. 

"I just wanted to do something for Eathan," Kester said. "I wanted someone to know what a great kid Eathan is. Middle schoolers get a bad rap but this is a prime example of a kid doing his best."

Eathan, now 14, said Kester was his favorite teacher before the nomination "because she is just so nice" and now "she’s really my favorite teacher." 

The boys have been best friends since fifth grade and enjoy playing video games and sports together. 

Christian, 13, joined Eathan at the Red Cross banquet and the pair said they enjoyed the event – especially the food. Christian said he was proud of his friend for receiving the award, because he "imagines it is a tough award to get."

Eathan was the only minor to receive the award this year. 

Lisa Blicher, Eathan’s mother, and Adelbert Cobbin, Eathan’s dad, both said they are proud of their son for reacting when it was necessary. 

"I think he would do it for anyone because that is just who he is, but it makes it that much more special that it was his best friend," Adelbert said. 

Christian’s mother, Meagan Huth, said the two best friends share an even bigger bond and have been "inseparable" since the incident. She said she thinks of Eathan as her "adoptive son" because he spends so much time at her house. She said her family took Eathan out to dinner to thank him and she is grateful he was there for her son. 

"It’s a great feeling knowing he was there," Huth said. "He’s always been by Christian’s side." 

Reporter Briana Barker can be reached at 330-541-9432, bbarker@recordpub.com and @brianabarker1.