NALC President William H. Young will present
the National Hero of the Year award to Kurt
E. Spaller at a special ceremony September 15 in
the nation's capital. Spaller, 37, a resident of St. Petersburg,
Florida, is a member of West Coast Florida NALC Branch 1477.
Spaller was midway through delivering
mail on his route on June 21, 2003 when he noticed people
pointing to smoke coming from a building at the aged three-story
condominium complex in St. Petersburg. Knowing from his
deliveries which units were occupied, he began pounding
on doors on the first floor and then went to the third floor
to help several elderly people down the stairs. By the time
he finished, the heat and flames from the five-alarm fire
had singed the hair on his arms and legs. He later helped
Red Cross officials identify which residents had returned
north for the summer or were on vacation.
The union's annual National Humanitarian of the Year award
will be presented to John C.
Frierson, 42, of Royal Oak, Michigan, a member of
NALC Br. 3126, who donated life-saving bone marrow to a
two-year-old leukemia victim and went on to form a non-profit
organization dedicated to raising awareness among minorities
about the importance of signing up for the National Bone
Marrow Donor Registry.
In announcing the awards, Young noted that letter carriers
regularly contribute much more to their communities than
the mail they deliver.
"NALC is extremely proud
of these men and women who have continued the time-honored
tradition of letter carriers sacrificing their own safety
to come to the aid of people in danger along their postal
routes," Young said.
Three regional heroes will also be honored
at the September 15 event:
Region ~Richard Fischer, 69, of Coral Springs,
Florida, a member of South Florida NALC Branch
1071, was named Eastern Region Hero for helping
to rescue a baby trapped under a car after the
vehicle crashed into the lobby of a post office
in Coral Springs on May 5, 2003. Fischer and others
lifted the mangled vehicle enough for the baby
to be freed.
~ David D. Bartaway,
43, of Trenton, Michigan, a member of Western
Wayne County NALC Br. 2184, was named as Central
Region Hero for risking his life by jumping into
a truck operated by a drug-crazed driver, wrestling
for control of the vehicle while being attacked,
and diverting its path from people attending the
Mid-Summer Festival in Trenton, Michigan on July
9, 2003 until tumbling to the pavement with a
broken nose and bones and major lacerations.
Western Region ~
Victor R. Soto, 47,
of Las Vegas, Nevada, a member of NALC Branch
2502, was named Western Region Hero for saving
a little boy from a raging pit bull dog on January
24, 2004. Hearing screams from the youth while
delivering on his route, Soto went to his aid,
forced the canine back and warded off further
assault on the severely injured boy. Soto assisted
the youth until paramedics arrived, then returned
to his route.
Nevin V. Markel, 54,
of Colorado Springs, Colorado, a member of NALC Br. 204,
was selected for the Special Carrier Alert Rescue Award
for heeding a call for help by Spanish-speaking patrons
at an apartment complex, calling 911, and then following
instructions to help a woman who was in the process of delivering
a baby. After paramedics arrived, Markel switched back from
delivering a baby to delivering mail on his route.
Warwick, Rhode Island Br. 3166
was named recipient of the NALC Branch Service Award recipient
for a quarter century of support by its member to blood
drives of the Rhode Island Blood Center. The small branch
conducts four blood drives each year to provide the "gift
of life" and also collects names for the National Bone
Marrow Donor Registry.
Judges for the awards were Jordan Biscardo, Vice President
and AFL-CIO Community Services liaison at United Way of
America; Shelby Hallmark, Director, U.S. Labor Department's
Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, and Montgomery
County (MD) Deputy Fire and Rescue Services Chief Phil Guercio.
Editor's note: The awards will be presented
at a special luncheon ceremony at 11:30 a.m. EDT September
15 at the Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave., NW,
in Washington, DC. Electronic and print media access will