By Shereen Siewert

A local dispatcher is being honored this week as a “Hometown Hero” after he helped a Wisconsin Rapids woman save her daughter from choking.

Chad Zerkle, a dispatcher with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department, will be honored Wednesday at a state Assembly session in Madison.

Zerkle, who lives in Schofield, was nominated by Rep. Patrick Snyder (R-Schofield). According to a state news release, Rachel Renner’s 18-month-old daughter, Riley, swallowed her sister’s plastic ring and was at risk of choking to death. After a panicked Renner dialed 911, Zerkle’s calm instructions allowed her to follow the procedures to dislodge the ring.

While Zerkle insists he was simply doing his job, Renner maintains that Zerkle is her hero.

The Assembly Hometown Heroes program seeks to identify and recognize people from around the state who make a difference in our communities and in the lives of those around them. Hometown Hero Award winners are invited and introduced as a special guest at an Assembly floor session.