KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knox County veteran says Congressman Tim Burchett saved his life. Army veteran Bobby Barnes was choking when the East Tennessee lawmaker came to his rescue.

He said Burchett was sitting right across the table from him at a Veterans Day event. Turns out, that was meant to be.

“Tim jumps up and comes around over. He asks if I was alright. I told him no, so he started doing the Heimlich on me,” Barnes said.

Barnes said he was struggling to breathe before Burchett stepped in. “He came over and done it and got me feeling like I could breathe.”

The congressman also recalled the Friday encounter.

“For a second there I thought well, is somebody going to do something. And I remember some guy patted him on the back and I realized that he really was choking. So I ran around the table, and I put my arms around him. He was still sitting down. I gave him 3 quick pulls, and on the third one he exhaled, and you could tell, he was like ‘I’m ok,'” Burchett said.

Because of that, Barnes says he believes Burchett saved his life. “When you’re in a position like that and you can’t breathe, yeah I really did,” said Barnes.

Congressman Burchett said he’s never done the Heimlich maneuver before, nor does he know that he’s ever even practiced it. He said he was just at the right place at the right time.

If you need a reminder about how to help someone who is choking, the American Red Cross has a guide.