First buttons honor two ‘Carnival heroes’

First buttons presented to Petrova Elementary teacher, student for lifesaving response to Palace choking last year

From left, Petrova Elementary School teacher Emily Doyle-Shubert and Petrova second-grader Charlotte Swinyer, show off their Winter Carnival buttons — the first two pulled from this year’s shipment — along with Karen Russell and Carnival button coordinator Heather Rudisell. Doyle-Shubert and Swinyer were honored at as “Winter Carnival heroes” at Tuesday’s Carnival meeting for their quick actions dislodging a piece of ice stuck in Swinyer’s throat at a first-grade field trip to the Ice Palace last year. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Two “Winter Carnival heroes” were honored on Tuesday with the presentation of the first two buttons of Carnival.

Emily Doyle-Shubert, a teacher at Petrova Elementary School, and Charlotte Swinyer, a second-grader in her class, were at the Ice Palace for a field trip last year when a piece of ice got stuck in Charlotte’s throat, preventing her from breathing. Immediately, she ran to Doyle-Shubert, pointing at her throat. Doyle-Shubert, a former high school soccer coach, is certified in first aid, and successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the ice, saving Charlotte’s life.

At the final Carnival Committee meeting before the festivities began, Carnival Chair Rob Russell took a moment to recognize the two for their fast actions.

“Charlotte, in her excitement of visiting the Palace, swallowed a piece of ice,” Russell said. “But Charlotte, because of her training, at home, in school and in coaches and teachers … in remembering her lessons … Charlotte went directly to Emily. … They claimed a magical moment together in a very scary situation.”

Russell produced two buttons from an envelope he said he’s been carrying around for a month, two out of an order of 5,700 buttons Carnival button coordinator Heather Rudisell placed this year. These buttons are for sale across town, but these two are special.

Petrova Elementary School second-grader Charlotte Swinyer grins along with her father, Jason Minnie, left, and Petrova teacher Emily Doyle-Shubert. Swinyer and Doyle-Shubert were honored as “Winter Carnival heroes” at Tuesday’s Carnival meeting for their quick actions dislodging a piece of ice stuck in Swinyer’s throat at a first-grade field trip to the Ice Palace last year. (Enterprise photo —Aaron Marbone)

“These are the first two buttons that Heather saw coming out of the box,” Russell said.

Russell said “there’s no specific criteria” for awarding the first buttons. It’s always been the chairman’s choice. He said he’s looking for a significant event that either added to the enjoyment of Carnival or was something that was extremely meaningful and memorable. This was the latter.

Russell said after it happened, he knew it was what he wanted to recognize this year.

Charlotte was at the meeting on Tuesday with her father Jason Minnie and mother Nikki Tracy.

“She’s a hero to us,” Minnie said of Doyle-Shubert last year. “I was just unbelievably thankful that she was there to save my daughter’s life. If she wasn’t around, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Russell also gave them both light-up bracelets his brother makes with “Winter Carnival” written on them. Charlotte took a purple one and Emily took a green one for her son Rye, 3.

Charlotte said she’s going to wear her button on her coat. She said she’s excited for for the “Creepy Carnival” this year.

Doyle-Shubert told the Enterprise last year that her reaction was “surprisingly calm,” which she chalked up to “motherly instinct or adrenaline” as she performed the Heimlich maneuver on someone actually choking for her first time ever.

“I never expected to use my training, but I am very happy I have it,” she wrote. The two sat and shared an emotional moment.

Doyle-Shubert said growing up in Saranac Lake, Winter Carnival has always been a big deal for her.

“It means a lot to me,” she said of the first button recognition.

She was shocked when she got the email telling her she’d be the recipient of one of the first Carnival buttons.

“It seems so long ago at this time,” she said on Tuesday.

The buttons were supposed to be presented at a Carnival meeting two weeks ago, but had to be postponed because Doyle-Shubert had a baby — Magnolia, or “Nolie,” who is now two weeks old.

“It’s my first outing since getting out of the hospital,” she said with a laugh.

Doyle-Shubert plans to bring Nolie around Carnival this year, introducing her to the tradition.


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