Successful businesswoman, motocross champion, and now Sidney’s Tressa Rau can add lifesaver to her long list of experiences.

Rau, who owns Rau Designs with her husband, Justin, was enjoying a meal at the Olive Garden in Billings Sept. 20, when the couple noticed a woman at a nearby table struggling.

“She started choking and couldn’t breathe,” Tressa said of the woman, who she estimates is in her 60s. “She looked really uncomfortable.”

The situation became more urgent when the woman continued to have breathing difficulties.

“We both kind of got up and went by her,” Tressa said of her and Justin. “I patted her on the back and she started to wheeze.”

Tressa then started to apply the Heimlich maneuver to the older woman. The first two attempts weren’t completely successful.

“The third one did it,” Tressa said

The Sidney native learned how to perform the Heimlich maneuver first when she was young and went to a CPR class with her mother.  When Tressa was in college, she took a lifetime fitness class that featured instruction of the Heimlich maneuver in 1996.

So, it’s been a while since she practiced the procedure.

“I didn’t really think about it,” Rau said. “I’m glad I reacted that way.”

She received many thanks from the woman along with her husband and daughter who were at the table. The manager at the restaurant paid for Rau’s meal.

“I just went over there and did it. I really didn’t think about it until it was done,” Tressa said. “I was really shaking afterwards though.”