MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (WABC) -- It's the Boy Scout's motto to "Always be prepared", and boy was 12-year-old Thomas McNally ready.
His mother, Valerie McNally, was rushing to eat dinner and get the kids to their after school activities when panic set in.
"Without cutting my meat, I just put it in my mouth and realized I was starting to choke," Valerie said.
Luckily, Thomas had just gotten his Boy Scout badge for learning the Heimlich maneuver weeks prior, but never expected to have to use it.
"The only place I think I would do it is to the dummy," Thomas said.
But he did, to save his own mother's life.
"He jumped up and went behind me, and I was putting on my stomach for him to push and he started to push. And I was running because in my head I was afraid I was going to die," Valerie said.
But Thomas continued to hold his mother tight as he could and press. After the fourth time, and what seemed like an eternity for Valerie, the food came out.
"I was relieved and I looked at him and I was like, you just saved my life," Valerie said.
It wasn't until after Valerie could breathe again that her son had realized what he did.
"I was feeling a little dizzy because I thought it was like a dream or something," Thomas said.
"I could see that he got nervous afterwards because to think of your mother dying is a pretty hard thing to do," Valerie said.
Thomas' quick thinking and use of his Boy Scout skills recently earned him the Medal of Merit, only 2% of Boy Scouts receive it, plus he was recognized by the fire department, the county, and two local towns.
"I couldn't keep up because they had so many, they kept giving me, and giving me, and giving me," Thomas said.
But don't call him a hero; he's much more low key than that.
"I don't like it, I don't like it. I just don't like being called a hero. I liked that I saved her but I don't like being a hero, just did what you were supposed to do," Thomas said.
Boy Scout saves choking mother with Heimlich maneuver in Massapequa