DENVER (CBS4) – A soldier who served in Afghanistan deployed his skills back home by saving a man’s life in Denver last Saturday night.

“We were going out for a friend’s birthday,” Ian Clark said.

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They were two of eight celebrating. For Clark and Zach Lariviere it turned into a night they will never forget. The evening started at Illegal Pete’s on the 16th Street Mall and everybody was having dinner.

“At which time something became lodged in my throat,” Clark said.

He couldn’t breathe.

“He started pointing to his chest and his throat,” Lariviere said.

“Within a split second Zach sprang out of his chair, lifted me up out of my chair, and began giving me the Heimlich,” Clark said.

Clark is a big man, but Lariviere wasn’t deterred. He’s military — Army and National Guard with one deployment to Afghanistan.

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(credit: Zach Lariviere)

(credit: Zach Lariviere)

“He did not panic at all,” Clark said.

Even when it didn’t seem to be working.

“I just stayed focused on what was going on with Ian,” Lariviere said.

“I could see my wife out of the corner of my eye, she was panicking,” Clark said. “Zach kept doing it. I could feel him increasing the pressure and it worked.”

Ian Clark and Zach Lariviere  (credit: CBS)

Ian Clark and Zach Lariviere (credit: CBS)

Clark is forever grateful and Lariviere was happy to help.

“I am very honored that I could do that for him,” Lariviere said.

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Clark wasn’t sure how to express his thanks, but a handshake was enough for the reluctant hero.