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Neighborhood Spotlight: Lehighton woman has helped several in distress

There are those who still find themselves searching for their true purpose in life.

And then there are others who were seemingly put on this earth to serve as guardian angels.

Amy Butrie would certainly fall under the latter, as demonstrated by her actions in helping others who are in distress.

A manager at the lunch spot for KRC Concessions through Pocono Whitewater along Route 903 in Penn Forest Township, Butrie has encountered her share of close calls.

A history of helping those in distress

On the afternoon of Feb. 17, Butrie said she went out to meet her girlfriend to go grocery shopping when she happened to stumble upon a problem.

“I saw a mother and grandmother walking, the baby was limp,” Butrie said. “They were buzzing at the cop station.”

Butrie, who lives in the house right next door to the borough police station, said she dropped things and sprang into action.

“I threw my purse down, I ran over and grabbed the baby and started pounding on the back, and could see the cookie coming out of her mouth,” she said. “Two ladies were walking down the street and one came over and grabbed the baby and held her while I tapped on her back.”

Butrie said by then several borough police officers came out.

“Then, she got worse, she was turning bluer,” she said. “I stuck my finger down into her mouth, she clenched onto my finger, I couldn’t get it out.

“I took my other hand and opened her mouth to release my finger. She actually broke the skin and I still have the mark from it.”

Ironically, Butrie said the family lives right across the street.

“I don’t even know who they are,” she said. “I didn’t care. It was a baby.”

Butrie said she felt “relieved” once the object was dislodged from the infant’s mouth and she was safe.

This wasn’t the first time Butrie had to help a young child in a similar situation.

Only the first time, it was her daughter, who was 4 or 5 at the time and was choking on Life Savers while living in Jim Thorpe.

“I turned her over and she was too little to give the Heimlich,” she said. “I had to give her some soda to get it out.”

Butrie said she also helped save people in distress two other times this year.

Once was back around the end of May, early June, when the Lehigh River was really high, and no rafting trips were allowed that day.

Butrie said she was off and so she and her girlfriend went to go down behind the Iron Gates on Lehigh Drive to check the land when they encountered two ladies, one of whom was frantic and crying.

“I asked her what was wrong, (and) she said, ‘my husband is missing,’?” she said. “I started walking up further and I heard a ‘help,’ and I looked over and he was hanging on a tree, the island was actually going underwater.”

Butrie said she did her best to help save the man, who was stuck on the channel with raging water.

“I told him to hold onto the tree. I would call 911 to get him help; there was no possible way I could get him off there,” she said. “We stayed until they were able to get off the tree and on land.”

Two weeks later, Butrie was working as manager for KRC Concessions and her river rafting trip was leaving.

“A young man came up and was white as a ghost, cold to the touch, and said he had just gotten stung by a wasp and he was extremely allergic,” she said. “He was looking really bad; we gave him something to drink.”

Butrie said she stayed with him until the ambulance came.

“The lady said just stay there with him,” she said. “I told her his chest was like shrilling, you could see it shaking.”

Here for a reason

When she isn’t assisting others in need or working at her job, Butrie said she likes to spend time outdoors.

She loves cooking and baking.

“I like walking, being out in nature,” she said. “Me and my grandson walk down the D&L trials, bike all the time.”

Butrie, 55, said she enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren; her grandson, Dominic, 6, and granddaughter Sophia, 2.

“I take care of a lot of people,” she said. “My friends that are homebound, I go to the store for them, do whatever I can.”

Butrie said she went through a nursing assistance course twice and a medical officer course once.

“I took care of my mother for 17 years (after) I found my father dead on my daughter’s first birthday,” she said. “I was only 17 when my mother got disabled; I did it until I was 36.”

Butrie said she believes she’s on this earth for a reason.

“I just keep going,” she said. “I always tell my friends, I was put here to take care of people.”

Amy Butrie of Lehighton has been at the right place at the right time to help several people. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS