Santa Ana District’s Lakewood Letter Carrier Azucena Miranda had no idea she was doing something heroic when she recently knocked on customer Lee Martin’s screen door.
What was a little unnerving was the fact that the front door was wide open, alerting her to the possibility that the Martin’s dog might appear at any moment on the other side of the screen. But all was quiet.
She rang the door bell and called out to the Martins, but there was no response. A parcel from another delivery company was sitting on the porch. Something, she thought, was just not right. Miranda dropped the mail inside the screen door, but immediately crossed the street and alerted the Martin’s neighbor, Oscar Zambrano, about the unusual circumstances. Zambrano was concerned, too, and contacted police. Officers arrived and entered the house with guns drawn, but found no one inside and no evidence of a burglary, other than the fact that the back door was also unlocked.
Days later, Lakewood Postmaster Steve Ham received a letter from Lee Martin, the homeowner. It turned out that the Martins had left home due to a sudden and unexpected death in the family. Martin had carefully locked up the house, but did not have time to put their mail on hold.
When Martin returned home, Zambrano, told him what had happened in his absence, and the two concluded that when Miranda yelled and rang the door bell, she must have startled an intruder who then escaped out the back door and over a neighbor’s fence. In his letter, Martin wrote, “It is very possible that without Miranda’s intervention and quick actions, we would have returned to find our home ransacked and burglarized, adding more grief to our already raw emotions.”
Concluding his letter, Martin wrote that Miranda “went well above the call of duty on this day and then went about her responsibilities to deliver the mail for the rest of her route. This was no small feat and reflects highly on the character and courage of Miranda and speaks highly of your Post Office.”
Postmaster Ham was pleased, but not completely surprised, to receive commendations for Miranda. “A couple years ago she was battling cancer but insisted on continuing to work as much as her limitations would allow, even when she was undergoing grueling chemotherapy. After she cased her route, she would walk around the block to stay in shape for her return to full duty. I have great respect for her. She is an excellent and dedicated carrier,” Ham said.