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Letter Carrier Selected as 'National Hero' for Rescuing Elderly Man in House Fire
National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO)
Washington, DC
Thursday, September 3, 2009

A letter carrier from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania who broke into a neighbor's home and rescued an unconscious 78-year-old man from a blazing fire was named today by the 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) as its 2009 "National Hero of the Year."

NALC President Fredric V. Rolando will present the National Hero of the Year award to Timothy Foote, 47, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a member of NALC Branch 500 in Harrisburg, at a special luncheon ceremony September 24 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill hotel in Washington, DC.

Foote was relaxing and watching a football game on television on October 29, 2007 when he was startled to hear his daughter yelling from the den, frightened by the sight of a neighbor's house being engulfed by flames. Although barefoot and wearing just a sweatshirt and gym shorts, the letter carrier and former firefighter raced to the home, broke in, dropped down and began crawling around.

Foote spotted his neighbor, David Jauss, unconscious on the living room floor. He immediately pulled the man out of the blazing residence to safety. Fire fighters on the scene said Jauss likely wouldn't be alive if not for the letter carrier's actions.

The union's annual National Humanitarian of the Year award will be presented to Emmanuel Anim-Sackey, 50, of West Orange, New Jersey, a member of NALC New Jersey Merged Branch 38. Anim-Sackey sifts through scores of northern New Jersey thrift stores and yard sales to find simple possessions such as used clothes, shoes, and school supplies to send back to impoverished families in Abetifi-Kwahu, a small village in his native Ghana.

In announcing the awards, Rolando noted that the winners continue the proud tradition of letter carriers who have performed heroic and humanitarian acts throughout the union's 120-year history.

"We are proud of what these letter carriers have done to aid their fellow human beings," Rolando said. "These heroic acts are often done at risk of personal danger and our awardees this year again exemplify the best of our craft, our union and the United States Postal Service."

Three regional heroes and a "Carrier Alert" winner will also be honored at the September 24 event:

James Patrick, 51, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a member of NALC Branch 451 in Johnstown, was named Eastern Region Hero for helping to evacuate a Roman Catholic pastor and his secretary after flames spread through the Church of The Transfiguration church rectory on September 23, 2008 in Conemaugh Borough. As he walked his route, Patrick had noticed thick black smoke and bright flames pouring from the top eave of the church. He shouted for help, and then entered the building to lead the priest and aide to safety.

Matthew Polnow, 46, of Rockford, Illinois, a member of NALC Branch 245 in Rockford, was named as Central Region Hero for freeing a terrified, wheelchair-bound woman from a smoked-filled van that was on fire after being involved in a three-vehicle accident on June 11, 2008. Polnow saw the accident as he delivered his route and quickly maneuvered the wheelchair ramp into place, then unhooked the restraining belts and dragged the wheelchair and woman to safety.

Victoria Wells, 53, of Seattle, Washington, a member of NALC Branch 79 in Seattle, was named Western Region Hero for helping to evacuate 10 children and others from a burning home along her postal route that also served as a day care facility. She noticed flames shooting from the eaves of the home as she delivered the mail on March 25, 2008, alerted the adults to the danger, and then led several of the children to safety.

James Brown, Jr., 52, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, a member of Virginia Beach NALC Branch 2819, was named the recipient of the Special Carrier Alert Award for interrupting his mail delivery on June 30, 2008 to rescue an elderly women who had fallen inside her home. Brown arrived on the porch of the home when he heard Betty Hill cry out for help. He entered through a kitchen window and helped her until an ambulance arrived, then returned to delivering mail.

Judges selecting the winners were Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor Shelby Hallmark; Jordan (Bud) Biscardo, AFL-CIO Community Services liaison at United Way of America; and Richard Bowers, chief of Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Services.


Editor's note: The awards will be presented at a special luncheon ceremony at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, September 24 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill hotel, 400 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC. Electronic and print media access will be available.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Philip Dine
Title: Director of Public Relations
Group: National Association of Letter Carriers(AFL-CIO)
Dateline: Washington, DC United States
Direct Phone: 202-662-2489
Main Phone: 202-393-4695
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