FENNIMORE, WI (SPECTRUM NEWS) – When someone starts choking, the Heimlich maneuver likely comes to mind, but a family in Fennimore would tell you that doesn't always work.
A husband and wife teamed up with lawmakers in an effort to put a special kind of safety device in schools across the state.
Before October of 2016, the Bruegmann family pretty much felt invisible.
“You hear these stories and you're like 'oh that's never going to happen to me' but it can and it does,” Courtney Bruegmann said.
Matt and Courtney's nine-month-old son Camynn got a rubber ball stuck in his throat.
“People are like, misunderstand a little bit,” Courtney said. “They think that it was just a bouncy ball out of a quarter machine, and it wasn't.”
Classic life-saving techniques didn't work and the Bruegmann's lost their only son.
Overcoming tragedy proved tough.
“I personally had like a really hard time like letting my two girls like go anywhere like even to school,” Courtney said. “Kind of like, you know, if something were to happen at school would they know what to do?”
Looking to spare others from their painful experience, the couple researched anti-choking devices and started donating them to local schools and first responders.
New legislation could now help the Bruegmann's efforts.
State Rep. Travis Tranel's (R-Cuba City) and Sen. Howard Marklein's (R-Spring Green) proposal would provide grant money for schools to buy anti-choking devices.
The Bruegmann family donates a product called LifeVac, which sells for about $70.
“The air goes around the holes whenever you're pushing in, so it will not push the object in farther,” Matt Bruegmann said. “You just push it in there, kind of just twist lock it so it's secure, put it on the ground, that's the suction it has.”
Knowing even seconds can matter, the couple hopes a bill passes quickly.
The proposed legislation would let schools buy any brand of anti-choking device.
The family also started a Facebook petition for those who want to show their support for the proposal.