Along America’s streets, highways and country roads, rural and city letter carriers deliver mail to every home and business. Because of this presence, carriers also represent a front line of safety for the customers they serve.
Often, along with the mail, they end up delivering help and assistance. These heroes aren’t just at the right place at the right time; they choose to check on the elderly, run into burning buildings and help in any way they can.
There are times a carrier will assist a customer, call emergency personnel and finish their route without anyone, other than the person they helped, knowing about their heroic deed until a thank you letter arrives at the Post Office.
Nationwide there are literally thousands of postal heroes. During the past few days, four of these heroes came to my attention.
Mill Creek, WV
Mill Creek, WV, Rural Carrier Ronnie Malcomb and Micah Allen
Rural Carrier Ronnie Malcomb was delivering mail when he heard a man calling for his son. "I didn’t know the child was missing," said Malcomb. "I figured the child was being called inside, but I kept scanning the area, just in case, as I continued on my route."
Weaving his way along secondary roads that switch back on themselves, Malcomb says he was almost a mile from the customer’s house when he saw a young boy crying at the side of the road.
"I pulled up and asked him if he was OK," the carrier said. "He told me he was lost. He told me his name and his father’s name. I asked him if I could give him a ride home."
"Ronnie delivered the six-year-old to the waiting arms of his parents Mark and Shana Allen," said Postmaster Rodney McAtee.
"The child told me he was praying to God that He would help get him home when I pulled up," said Malcomb. "I’m just glad I was there to help him."
Lebanon, KY, Rural Carrier Perry Bland
Rural Carrier Perry Bland spotted a Ford Explorer flipped upside down in a creek while delivering his route. He pulled over to investigate and heard screaming. He discovered a child in her car seat and the child’s pregnant mother — both hanging upside down in the overturned SUV.
The vehicle was partially submerged in water.
Bland climbed into the SUV through the back door but was unable to free the victims from their seatbelts, so he ran back to his vehicle to get a letter opener. He called 911 and handed his cell phone to a driver who had just arrived on the scene.
While cutting the child free, another passerby jumped into the creek and propped up the child’s head. A third person managed to get the driver’s door open and free the mother.
When the rescue squad and state troopers arrived at the scene, the driver said the accident happened when she swerved to miss a dog that had run out into the road.
With everything under control, although he was soaking wet, Bland completed the rest of his mail route.
Franklinville, NJ, Rural Carriers Robert Powell (left) and Geraldine Showack-Pino receive a hero’s welcome from Mayor Joseph Petsch (center). Postmaster
Donna Harrington reports two of her rural carriers — Geraldine Showack-Pino and Robert Powell — are being called heroes.
One of Showack-Pino’s customers left a note in his mailbox asking her to please deliver the mail to the door that day. He wrote that he wanted to talk to her about a mail-related issue.
After handing the man his mail, she was about to leave when the customer fell. She immediately tried to help, but the customer began to have convulsions. The carrier called emergency personnel, waited with the customer for help to arrive and then completed her route.
"Later he called to thank her for saving his life after he was released from the hospital a week later," said Harrington. "He said he was in a state of renal failure and said ‘I wouldn’t be alive today, if it weren’t for the mail carrier.’"
Powell, on the other hand, wasn’t asked to deliver the mail to the door; he just did when he noticed his customer hadn’t taken the mail out of her mailbox.
"I took her mail to the door," said Powell. "When I got to the door, I hear a voice so I called in to ask if she was alright."
The customer called back and said she had fallen. Powell called for help and stayed with her until the ambulance arrived.
"It’s what we do," Harrington said. "We look out for our customers."