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Woodbury man saves boy, 10, from choking

Woodbury's Nick Ventricelli, 21, came to the aid

Woodbury's Nick Ventricelli, 21, came to the aid of Jack Solomon, 10, also of Woodbury, when the boy started choking on a potato chip at a party where Ventricelli was working. Ventricelli performed the Heimlich maneuver. (June 13, 2012) (Credit: Handout)

A Farmingdale State College baseball player and Woodbury native made his biggest save Friday night, but it wasn’t anywhere near a diamond.

While working as a bartender at a party for his friend’s parents, Nick Ventricelli used the Heimlich maneuver to save a 10-year-old boy who was choking on a potato chip.

After Ventricelli walked into the backyard, leaving partygoers inside, he noticed Jack Solomon huddled over near the pool and the boy’s mother frantically screaming for help.

“I heard a choking sound and he had his hands around his neck with his face turning red,” said Ventricelli, 21. “After the third Heimlich maneuver I gave him, the chip flew out of his throat.”

Solomon, a fourth-grader at Walt Whitman Elementary School in Woodbury, said he had never choked that badly before.

“I was helping my mom and dad set up [for the party] and then I picked up one chip and I choked on it,” said Jack Solomon, 10, of Woodbury. “I couldn’t breathe.”

Ventricelli never had any formal CPR or Heimlich maneuver training. He had only just received his bartending license.

“I just remember reading posters at restaurants,” said Ventricelli, who is going into his senior year at Farmingdale State College in the fall. “His mom was in shock, so I helped him out.”

At the time of this incident, Marybeth Solomon watched as her son’s face slowly turned blue, with his body hunched over and he was unable to talk or even breathe.

“I was in shock because I couldn’t believe it was happening and I was screaming for someone to help him, while pounding on his back,” said Solomon, 46, of Woodbury, whose son didn’t require any medical attention after Ventricelli came to his aid. “I didn’t really even know how to do the Heimlich. Thankfully, Nick ran over.”

Nick’s mother, Karen Ferrara Ventricelli, wasn’t surprised when she heard of her son’s heroic act, describing him as an extremely calm person in certain situations. She said this isn’t the first time Nick had saved a life, telling the story of how he pulled a 3-year-old girl out of a pool at Atlantis in the Bahamas six years ago after she went under.

“He always makes me so proud,” said Ventricelli, 49, of Woodbury. “Me and my husband were at our daughter’s pre-prom party, so we didn’t even see it happen, but when we got there [the Solomons’ house], we couldn’t even walk into the backyard without people surrounding us to tell the story.”

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