Two local police officers are being hailed as heroes after their quick off-duty actions saved a man’s life.

On April 1, Columbia County Sheriff Office deputies Heath Benansky and Jason Garvey were off-duty eating dinner at Yiannis at Chatham House in the Village of Chatham.

A married couple was dining next to the officers. During their meal, the man started choking on a hamburger. His wife tried to do the Heimlich maneuver, twice, but was unsuccessful.

The deputies took over and were able to dislodge the food and restore the man’s breathing, police say.

The Chatham Rescue Squad responded to the location, but the man did not require any further medical attention.

The two were honored at the Zone 14 Police Academy graduation at Columbia-Greene Community College on Saturday.

“I would like to personally thank deputies Benansky and Garvey for their quick action attending to the man choking and saving his life,” Ulster County Sheriff David Bartlett said. “It is an honor to present these deputies with the Lifesaving Award.”

The married couple were called up on stage while the deputies were honored.

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