Mohammed Hammad saved Xzavier Wilson’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver on him in February.

It wasn’t Mohammed Hammad’s average day at work when he saved a student’s life in February.

The Mulrennan Middle School custodian, known as ‘Mr. Moe,’ noticed a student choking on a chip during lunch and jumped into action.

Hammad realized something was wrong when seventh grader Xzavier Wilson slammed his phone on the cafeteria table. After seeing Wilson’s panic and asking the boy if he was choking, Hammad performed the Heimlich maneuver on Wilson.

“I just tried to stay calm as possible,” Hammad said. “… Thank God everything came out pretty quick and easy.”

Hammad said he knew something was wrong because students don’t typically slam their phones down as Wilson did. The seventh grader visited the nurse and talked with his mom on the phone after Hammad saved him.

“He’s a hero. He saved my life,” Wilson said.

Mulrennan Principal Tamara Brooks said it feels amazing to have Hammad on her staff.

“He’s the most humble person you could ever meet. He does a lot of things that go beyond his job description because he loves the students at this school,” Brooks said.

She said Hammad has been voted instructional support employee of the year multiple times. In fact, she said he has won the award so many times Hammad has had to turn it down to give it to the next most-voted employee.

“He is a wonderful support to have here at Mulrennan,” Brooks said.

Hammad has connected with his students during their lunch breaks throughout his time at Mulrennan. He is loved by the students and staff, but his lifesaving action is just one more way Hammad has impacted Mulrennan.

Brooks checked on Wilson one more time before he went home for the day, where he was greeted with a hug from his relieved mom.

This is not the first student Hammad has saved. He saved another choking student a few months ago in a similar situation, and he has helped other students throughout his 10 years at Mulrennan.

“I don’t want to be known as a hero. Just, everyday someone has to be there for these kids,” Hammad said. “… Anyone can be a hero at any time. I was just there.”

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.