Littleton Fire Rescue and the City Council honored a local letter carrier last week with the John P. Cernich Lifesaving Award.
Postal worker Louise Devers noticed last summer that an elderly man on her route had not checked his mail for three days. Devers, fearing the man was in trouble, talked to a neighbor, who called 911.
The man, who wished for his name to be withheld, had fallen and for three days and was unable to get up. Littleton Fire Rescue Chief John Mullin, during the award presentation on Dec. 3, said Devers’ actions helped save the man’s life.
When Devers, who’s been with the Postal Service in Littleton for almost 30 years, began deliveries on her current route in south Littleton 16 months ago, the carrier she replaced told her that an older man lived alone in the home and received a lot of mail.
Devers had never seen the man, but she noticed one day, while delivering mail to the more than 350 homes on the route, that he hadn’t picked up his mail.
“He got the most mail of anybody on the route. It was easy enough to know something was wrong when he didn’t pick it up,” Devers said. “I think it was a Saturday, and I thought, ‘You know, I should talk to somebody.’ But a neighbor was on vacation. I regret I didn’t do anything Saturday besides thinking, ‘Oh, that’s weird.’ ”
Devers said she was concerned about the man throughout the day that Sunday. When she dropped his mail off Monday and the mailbox hadn’t been checked, she immediately went to a neighbor.
“It’s unbelievable that a mail carrier paid so much attention and acted upon something she thought was unusual,” said Carol Brzeczek, who lives in the neighborhood.
Brzeczek and her neighbors nominated Devers for the award and, despite the snow and frigid conditions last week, more than two dozen of them came to see Devers receive the award.
“I think the turnout from the neighborhood indicated how we all feel about Louise,” Brzeczek said. “I think she went above and beyond.”
“We’re very proud of her,” said Postal Service spokesman David Rupert. “It’s people like her that give us a good name. We can’t say enough about the actions that she took. Collectively, we celebrate her individual accomplishment.”
But as far as Devers was concerned, her actions weren’t unusual for a letter carrier.
“It makes me uncomfortable, because a lot of mail carriers do the same thing,” Devers said. “There’s people in every job that care and go that extra mile.”
The award is named after Littleton Fire Capt. John P. Cernich Sr., who advocated for formal firefighter education and modernized firefighting in Littleton. Cernich died in the line of duty on April 28, 1969.
The award, bestowed annually by Littleton Fire Rescue to a citizen whose actions help save a life, was presented to Devers by Cernich’s son, Littleton Fire Rescue’s retired deputy chief Pete Cernich Jr.
Contact Ramsey Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.