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Westmoreland prison guard honored by Red Cross

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Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A correctional officer at the Westmoreland County Prison was honored Friday by the American Red Cross for saving the life of a co-worker.

Thomas Wood was presented with a certificate of merit, which American Red Cross local chapter Executive Director Donna Pacella said is a “prestigious national award” that has been presented locally only three other times.

The award recognizes a person who completes a Red Cross course in first aid, CPR, AEDs or aquatics prior to saving or sustaining the life of another.

On Nov. 14, correctional officer Richard Davanzo was eating lunch at about 10:15 a.m. when he began to choke. Wood, who was sitting nearby, attempted to dislodge the food by giving Davanzo back blows.

When that didn't work, Wood utilized his first aid training to give Davanzo a few abdominal thrusts to clear his airway.

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