Josh Hefta, a postman, surveys his neighborhood every day. So he knows when something is wrong on the 162 stop route in Walsh County, North Dakota.
That’s why he was skeptical when he arrived at the home of 94-year-old Alice Pasche and heard nothing.
Paschke’s mail was always delivered by hand by Hefta.
Hefta told The Bismark Tribune, “Alice was just a kind lady who was out there by herself.”
Since the weather was growing colder, Hefta began delivering her mail to her door as a favor and to check in on Paschke to make sure she was okay.
Every day, she would give him a can of Coke and a bag of Rice Krispies as a reward.
As a result, her failure to answer the door set up a major alarm in his mind.
He adds, “I believed I could hear a faint someone in the home.”
Hefta finally heard Paschke calling out to him.
“‘Come in,’ I said. “I said, ‘I’m in need of assistance,’” she explained. “He saved my life,” says the narrator. This is a true story.”
Paschke had collapsed and had been laying on the floor of her home for 20 hours, unable to get up or call for help.
She knew the mailman would arrive at 12:45 p.m., and that would be her only chance to obtain some assistance.
Hefta charged at Paschke’s door with all the force he could summon, hoping to break it down.
“I struck it twice really hard, and it popped up,” he explained to WDAY6. “I suppose it’s the adrenaline.”
Paschke said, “I thought I was already in heaven.”
For rescuing Paschke, Hefta was given the Postmaster General Award, the greatest honor a postal carrier can earn, and his name will be put to the Heroes Wall at the Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“I’m truly honored; this is the first time something like this has happened to me,” Hefta stated. “It’s a huge honor.”
Paschke is now a resident at the Grafton Nursing Home and misses Hefta’s afternoon visits. Hefta feels the same way.
He remarked, “Now I have to bring my own alcohol.”
Checking on senior citizens is part of Hefta’s training as a mail carrier, he says.
“I’m going to remember for the rest of my life, as long as my memory works,” Paschke added. “He was just a great mailman, and I’ll never forget him.”
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