Letter Carrier Heroes
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NALC Communications Department
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High-quality photos of letter carrier heroes (Flickr)
Extra footage suitable for use by television stations (Hightail)
2015 Letter Carrier Heroes of the Year
Letter carriers who helped save a woman who had been shot, got residents out of burning homes or rescued the unconscious driver of a submerged car are the 2015 Letter Carrier Heroes of the Year. (Scroll down below for detailed information on each of this year’s heroes.)
In just his fourth week on the job, Carmichael, CA city carrier assistant Scott Gallegos risked his life on the route to save a woman who had been shot by a man who then engaged police in a five-hour standoff. Gallegos, an Iraq war Army veteran, is the 2015 National Hero of the Year.
Gainesville, FL letter carrier and former Marine Alan Symonette, who extracted a driver whose car had plunged into a pond and was filling with water, is the Eastern Region Hero.
Akron, OH letter carrier Kizzy Spaulding, who pulled an unresponsive woman from her burning home, and Tulsa, OK letter carrier Steve Shipman, who rescued an 11-year-old girl from a house fire, are the Central Region and Western Region Heroes, respectively.
Several other carriers also are being recognized as heroes. They represent thousands of letter carriers who not only deliver the mail to 153 million households and businesses six days a week, but often assist in situations involving accidents, fires, crimes or health crises.
Retired Garden Grove, CA, letter carrier James Robledo, a Vietnam War veteran who through the Guitars4Vets program helps others deal with their combat experiences, is Humanitarian of the Year.
Carrier Alert winner Denice Howard, a Plainfield, NJ, letter carrier, located an elderly customer who had fallen on ice, after concluding that the way he had parked his car indicated trouble.
Eugene, OR, letter carriers Terrence Graves, a Navy veteran, and Bryce McLean spotted and detained a suspected thief; they are recipients of the Unit Citation award. And retired Maine letter carrier John Curtis, who is getting the Education Award, wrote a book about past labor struggles that resonate today.
Read below for more information.
NALC President Fredric Rolando, master of ceremonies for the 2015 Letter Carrier Heroes of the Year Awards ceremony, addresses the gathering. (Link to download a high-res version of this video from NALC’s Hightail (cloud) account.)
NALC Heroes ceremony remarks by USPS PMG Megan Brennan. (Link to download a high-res version of this video from NALC’s Hightail (cloud) account.)
NALC Heroes ceremony remarks by Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA). (Link to download a high-res version of this video from NALC’s Hightail (cloud) account.)
NALC Heroes ceremony remarks by Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA). (Link to download a high-res version of this video from NALC’s Hightail (cloud) account.)
National press coverage:
Time for heroes: USPS employees honored with annual awards (U.S. Postal Service News Link)
Postal carrier heroics: Saving shooting victims and rescuing people from burning homes (Los Angeles Times)
National Hero of the Year: Scott Gallegos of Carmichael, CA Branch 4494
When city carrier assistant Scott Gallegos of Carmichael, CA Br. 4494 was approached on his route by a woman who had been shot, the Army combat veteran immediately took action. He tended to her injuries, shielded her from the gunman and assisted police.
Brave carrier assists gunshot-wounded patron amid live fire (original story in The Postal Record)
Downloadable video package (by NALC, download from Hightail)
Gallegos soundbite (MP3)
Humanitarian of the Year: James Robledo of Garden Grove, CA Branch 1100
Retired Garden Grove, CA Br. 1100 letter carrier James Robledo found help for the lingering stress from his service in the Vietnam War in a guitar instruction program for veterans, and he rose to lead his local chapter of the program, bringing the therapeutic benefits of guitar lessons to many other veterans.
The healing power of music: NALC retiree helps vets through guitar program (original story in The Postal Record)
ONTARIO: Local veteran honored as humanitarian (The Press-Enterprise)
Downloadable video package (by NALC, download from Hightail)
Robledo soundbite (MP3)
— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) October 7, 2015
Eastern Region Hero: Alan Symonette of Gainesville, FL Branch 1025
After hearing tire squeals and seeing an SUV plunge into a retention pond, Alan Symonette of Gainesville, FL Br. 1025 headed straight for the water. The Marine Corps veteran, along with a bystander, eventually freed the man from the sinking car and brought him safely to shore.
Postal worker recalls exhausting rescue mission (The Gainesville Sun)
Rescuers pull driver from sinking SUV (The Gainesville Sun)
Right place, right time (original story in The Postal Record)
Symonette soundbite (MP3)
Central Region Hero: Kizzy Spaulding of Akron, OH Branch 148
Kizzy Spaulding of Akron, OH Br. 148 smelled an unusual odor coming from a house on her route and knew it wasn’t a good sign. When the carrier couldn’t get the attention of her customer inside, she investigated further. Seeing that the woman was unresponsive and that the house was on fire, the carrier called 911, then went inside and pulled her patron to safety.
Carrier saves customer from bad situation (original story in The Postal Record)
Akron mail carrier honored for heroism; she is among nine carriers recognized nationwide (Akron Beacon Journal)
Spaulding soundbite (MP3)
Western Region Hero: Steve Shipman of Tulsa, OK Branch 1358
Hearing an explosion while on his route, Steve Shipman of Tulsa, OK Br. 1358 turned to see a house on fire. He and a neighbor heard a girl scream from the back of the house. The men called 911, then broke out the bedroom window using a 2-by-4, covered the jagged glass with a jacket, and pulled the youngster outside before the house was destroyed by flames.
Near crisis averted (Vinita Daily Journal)
Miami native Shipman honored by NALC for heroism (The Miami [OK] News-Record)
Mailman Honored for Saving 11-Year-Old Oklahoma Girl From Fire (E! Entertainment Television)
Carrier runs into burning home to save child (original story in The Postal Record)
Shipman soundbite (MP3)
Carrier Alert Award: Denice Howard of Plainfield, NJ Branch 396
Denice Howard of Plainfield, NJ Br. 396 noticed an elderly patron’s car in an unusual place during a snowstorm. Investigating, she found him lying in the cold after slipping on ice and kept him warm and safe until authorities arrived.
Eye on the Elderly (original story in The Postal Record)
Howard soundbite (MP3)
Unit Citation Award: Terrence Graves and Bryce McLean of Eugene, OR Branch 916
Terrence Graves (left) and Bryce McLean
After a postal patron told Bryce McLean of Eugene, OR Br. 916 that someone had stolen a package from her, he spotted a suspect who matched the alleged thief’s description. He and fellow Br. 916 letter carrier Terrence Graves, a Navy veteran, detained the suspect until police arrived. Police recovered items stolen from several victims.
Carriers team up to thwart repeat criminal (original story in The Postal Record)
Education Award: John Curtis of Central Maine Merged Branch 391
John Curtis of Central Maine Merged Br. 391 used his extensive knowledge of the labor movement to bring history out of the library and onto the streets to help young workers in their struggle for living wages and recognition. His easy-to-read booklet, LOW WAGES and other HIGH CRIMES: Untold Stories of the 99%, is a tool that can help anyone see that victory against powerful resistance is possible.
Surry resident honored, named ‘Hero of the Year’ for labor book (The Weekly Packet)
Connecting the struggles of today to the victories of the past (original story in The Postal Record)
Soundbite from Curtis (MP3)
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2014 Letter Carrier Heroes of the Year
Letter carriers who emptied burning buildings, rescued a boy from a predator, saved a heart attack victim or brightened holidays were honored on Sept. 10, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
About the Heroes of the Year Awards
Every day, letter carriers are on the streets in every neighborhood. The nature of their jobs puts them in constant contact with the public. The NALC is proud of the countless deeds of good will and heroism that letter carriers perform each year.
Nominate a Hero
Find out how you can nominate a candidate to be honored as a letter carrier hero.