Former GOP Sen. Hecht owes life to Democratic candidate Kerry
Former U.S. Sen. Chic Hecht of Nevada is a staunch Republican, but he thanks his lucky stars for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
On July 12, 1988, Hecht was attending a weekly Republican luncheon when a piece of apple lodged firmly in his throat.
Hecht stumbled out of the room, thinking he might vomit but not wanting to do it in front of his colleagues. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., thumped his back, but Hecht quickly passed out in the hallway
Just then, Kerry stepped off an elevator, rushed to Hecht's side and gave him the Heimlich maneuver -- four times.
The lifesaving incident made international news, and Dr. Henry Heimlich, who invented the maneuver in 1974, called Hecht to say that had Kerry intervened just 30 seconds later Hecht might have been in a vegetative state for life.
"This man gave me my life," the 75-year-old Hecht said Thursday.
Hecht said he was amazed that Kerry acted so quickly -- some people were assuming that he was having a heart attack.
"He knew exactly what to do," he said. "But a lot of people know what to do. They just don't size up the situation immediately."
Hecht, who prides himself on having one of the most conservative records on the books during his six years in the Senate, said he and his wife, Gail, see politics as "a secondary issue" when it comes to Kerry.Every year the Hechts call Kerry's longtime personal secretary, who tracks down Kerry wherever he is.