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Coworkers save choking man

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A Covington man says he's blessed after two coworkers saved his life.

J.T. Willis said that he was eating a steak biscuit in the break room at Underpriced Furniture in Norcross on Saturday when a piece of the meal got stuck in this throat.

A coworker tried hitting him on the back, but nothing changed. Unable to breath,  the 47-year-old father of four with a fiancée at home started to panic.

"I felt my life just slipping away," Willis said.

Willis made it out of the kitchen and tried to get to the front of the store for help, but he only made it about 12 feet before he stumbled into his boss' office.

"He came from around the desk and he lifted me up and started doing the Heimlich mover," Willis said.

Willis fell to his knees and the store owner called his son, Justin Padden, who is a salesman at the store as well as a Gwinnett County firefighter.

"I grab him and pick him off the floor and say, ‘You got to work with me a little bit, J.T.,' knowing that's he's already  in and out of it," Padden

Another salesman, Bernard Hunter, then stepped in to help.

"It's just scary because everybody was petrified and not exaggerating, it actually felt like death was in the air," Hunter said.

Over and over, Bernard and Justin worked together to perform the Heimlich.

"It seemed like everything was moving fast and in slow motion at the same time," said Hunter.

With one more thrust, the food finally came out.  

"I was just blessed to work with a fine staff that, I don't know, they just saved my life," Willis said.

In that moment, the coworkers became brothers.

"I love these guys. These guys are like my brothers. These guys are my family," said Willis.

Willis is back at work.

The furniture store plans to hold CPR training for all of its employees soon.

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