You may want to pick up this week’s PEOPLE, not because Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are on the cover, but because eight postal employees and their heroic deeds are featured inside.
William Bland of Lebanon, KY, rescued a pregnant woman and child after they were involved in an auto accident. While the rural carrier was delivering his route, he noticed an overturned SUV in a creek. Stopping to investigate, he heard a woman screaming for help from inside the vehicle.
Bland waded into the waist-deep water to find the woman and her infant hanging upside down, barely above water, restrained by their seatbelts. When he couldn’t release the buckles, he ran to his vehicle, called 911, and returned with a letter opener to cut the seatbelts. As other motorists stopped to assist, Bland finally was able to get the woman and child out of the vehicle.
When rescue units arrived, Bland — soaking wet — resumed delivering his route.
Walter Hayes of St. Louis, MO, protected and comforted a child hit by a car. While delivering mail near an elementary school, the letter carrier saw a speeding driver strike a student who was crossing the street.
Hayes immediately ran to the student’s aid, lying next to the child to keep the student warm and to help calm him. When paramedics arrived to treat and transport the boy to the hospital, Hayes returned to his route.
In Bakersfield, CA, it was Letter Carrier Melissa Kelley who saved a customer from two attacking pit bulls. She ran to the man, who was knocked to the ground by the dogs, and chased them away using her satchel and dog spray.
The man had been bitten on his arms and face and had his front teeth knocked out. Kelley stayed with him until paramedics arrived. Later, he thanked Kelley, calling her his "angel."
From left: Oakland, CA, Letter Carriers Gilbert Rangel, Alan Girard, Karen Hill, and Tanya Joseph with Baywood Apartments Property Manager Kathy Walsh.
Oakland, CA, Letter Carriers Alan Girard, Rick Quinonez, Gilbert Rangel, Tanya Joseph and Karen Hill played a crucial role in rescuing 100 residents from an apartment fire.
In a letter to PMG Jack Potter, the apartment manager wrote that the Oakland letter carriers displayed "extraordinary courage." Kathy Walsh added, "It’s not often that you find people of such character and willingness who go above and beyond the call of duty, and for this we are thankful."
Every day postal employees across the nation touch the lives of millions of people, and sometimes those same employees and their heroic efforts make the difference between loss of life and property.