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Letter carriers recognized as 2017 Heroes of the Year

Letter carriers recognized as 2017 Heroes of the Year


Geneva Kubal, 202-756-7403
Jenessa Wagner, 202-662-2851

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 21, 2017 – Letter carriers who rescued a young man from a house fire, helped police defuse a tense standoff with an armed man, and raised money for a disabled-accessible van for a young girl, will be honored Oct. 4.

Matthew Lamb of Johnstown, PA, repelled by heat and smoke from a burning house before going to the back yard and telling the 20-year-old trapped inside to jump out the window into his waiting arms, is the National Hero of the Year. Clinton Parker of Waterbury, CT, a 30-year Army veteran named Eastern Hero of the Year, counseled a fellow veteran suffering from PTSD to yield his weapon, which he’d already fired. Letter carriers in Springfield, IL, who held a fundraiser that enabled the family of a 12-year-old girl with muscular dystrophy to buy a van that could accommodate the girl’s wheelchair, will receive the Branch Service Award.

Several other carriers also are being recognized as heroes. They represent thousands of letter carriers who not only deliver the mail to 155 million households and businesses six or even seven days a week, but often assist in situations involving accidents, fires, crimes or health crises.

Donte Cotton of Dayton, OH, who crawled through broken glass to extricate a baby girl from a car that had flipped onto its roof, will receive the Central Hero Award. Daniel Ochoa of Garden Grove, CA, a Marine Reservist, who saw smoke coming from a customer’s house, spotted a propane tank near the fire, and doused the flames, is the Western Hero of the Year. Grand Rapids, MI, letter carriers James McKay and Evelyn Woodward, who provided CPR to a postal clerk who had fallen face-first on the lobby floor, was convulsing in a pool of blood and then stopped breathing, are the Unit Citation recipients.

Holly Allen of Charleston, WV, recipient of the Carrier Alert Award, was concerned when he hadn’t seen an elderly customer for a while, investigated and found the woman injured on her kitchen floor, even as natural gas was spreading through the house. Deb Ochetti of Burnsville, MN, who donated bone marrow to save the life of a stranger she had never met, is the Humanitarian of the Year.

The National Association of Letter Carriers Heroes of the Year will be honored by NALC President Fredric Rolando at a special luncheon at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington D.C. Go to for further information on the Heroes, including video, audio and text.


The NALC represents letter carriers across the country. Its 280,000 members make it the largest of the four unions representing employees of the United States Postal Service. Founded by Civil War veterans in 1889, the NALC is among the country’s oldest labor unions.