INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey police department honored an 8-year-old boy Thursday who saved his little brother’s life when he started choking on a quarter.

As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, the boy’s parents taught him a life-saving skill they had hoped he would never have to use.

Twenty-two-month-old Grainger Blake never takes his eyes off big brother, Sterling. But on August 2, it was Sterling whose focused attention saved the day.

“He probably grabbed the quarter and he ate it, or he tried to, but he choked on it. Once he was choking, I didn’t think about anything. It was just my reaction,” the 8-year-old told Moore.

0b6e4874703d44ba928e73bdef223a48 N.J. Boy, 8, Saves 22 Month Old Brother From Choking On Quarter

(Credit: Washington Township Police Department) 

Just two days earlier, Sterling’s dad had taught him how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a baby.

“He told me on babies, hit them on the back. On grownups, hit them right here,” Sterling said. “I thought he was choking, so I whacked him on the back.”

“He threw up a quarter,” he continued. “He started crying.”

Within a few minutes, Grainger was fine, and the Blakes knew one son had saved the other’s life.

“I was at work and my wife called me, she was hysterical, she was crying. She said, ‘Sterling just saved Grainger,'” dad, Ben, said.

The Blakes said from the time they knew they were pregnant, they were committed to teaching their children life-saving skills.

“It’s a huge lesson to parents to tell and teach your children how to do it. Even if you think they’re not listening, they are,” mom, Essence, said. “He’s eight, he’ll be nine on Christmas Eve, and he listened to everything we said and did it the exact way he was supposed to do it.”

Sterling said he was happy he could help.

His baby brother is living proof that you’re never too young to save the day.