Every year — beyond delivering the mail — postal employees help the customers they serve by assisting them in emergency situations; often saving their lives. In 2009, the Postal Service recognized 202 employees as heroes for assisting others in need.
Last month when Rural Carrier Associate Melanie Moomaw was delivering mail she noticed someone on the ground surrounded by several dogs.
The Shepherdsville, KY, carrier called out to see if the customer was alright. "She motioned for me to help her," said Moomaw. "As I walked toward Marjorie Whitlow, I saw a pool of blood around her head."
The customer said she fell and was too dizzy to get up. Moomaw asked if anyone else was home and was told the woman’s husband was sleeping. Moomaw went in the house, woke the husband and helped him get Mrs. Whitlow into the couple’s car. In the end, it took 14 staples to close the wound she sustained in the fall.
Mr. Whitlow said that had Moomaw not intervened and offered her assistance, he had no idea how long his wife would have lay there and bled. Mrs. Whitlow called Melanie her, "Little Angel."
"This incident mirrors Melanie Moomaw’s personality and work ethic," said Shepherdsville Postmaster Gary Allender. "She is an exemplary representative of the Postal Service."
In Lincroft, NJ, a customer slipped on ice on his way to the mailbox. "The customer told me he had fallen between some bushes and was laying there for more than an hour when he heard the postal truck and called out for help," said Lincroft Postmaster Robert Salerno.
Letter Carrier Anthony Hussey called back, asking "where are you?
"When I found him, I tried to make him comfortable," said Hussey. "I gave him my gloves because his hands were very cold and then went to a neighbor across the street to help get him back into his house."
"The customer believes that Anthony saved his life," said Salerno. "No one else could hear him or see him."
According to Kentuckiana District Express Mail Driver Jim Keck
, seeing unsafe drivers as he travels Louisville, KY, highways during the wee hours of the morning isn’t that uncommon.
"It was a little after midnight when Jim was on his way to the Air Mail Facility," said acting Transportation Manager Jack Murphy. "He was getting off the expressway and a car came toward him — up the ramp going in the wrong direction."
Keck stopped, blocked the cars way and called 911. "He got out of his truck to check on the driver who had been drinking," Murphy said. "She told him not to bother calling the police and started walking away."
A short time later, the police arrived and took the driver into custody.
"This was the third alcohol-related incident Keck has called police about," Murphy added. "His actions in this particular incident prevented what otherwise could have resulted in a fatal accident."
Columbus, OH, Oakland Park Letter Carrier Harry "Pete" Watkins
was one of several letter carriers recently featured in the Columbus Dispatch
for their acts of heroism in saving customers’ lives.
Watkins actually saved the life of an elderly Columbus woman twice.
The second time, he saved the life of Carol Finch was about two years ago. Finch had suffered a stroke in the bathtub. She was incapacitated in the tub for several days. Watkins realized something was wrong when he saw her mail wasn’t picked up and her dog was unattended in the home. Watkins called police and Finch was rescued.
"I think I would have died if it hadn’t been for Pete — I would have starved," said Finch.
"She’s my girl," Watkins said of Finch. "I know that some people live by themselves and if I don’t see them collect their mail then I ask a neighbor to check on them or alert authorities that the customer may be having some issues," said Watkins.