Weather Updates

Police, post office praise elderly couple for helping hurt mail carrier

Updated: March 22, 2013 10:31AM

ELGIN — Howard Royer and his wife, Jean, were in the car on their way to get a treat Tuesday morning at a local bakery when, Royer said, “we got a little surprise.”

Just blocks from their home on Melrose Avenue, the couple, both in their 80s, spotted a woman lying on the sidewalk, he said.

She’d slipped on ice — “like glass” — just minutes before on Weston Avenue, he said. In “intense” pain, he said, she couldn’t stand or complete the 911 call for help on her cell phone.

The Good Samaritans rushed to the woman’s side, making the emergency call and waiting with her for help to arrive. That was before they even realized she was the mail carrier they’d exchanged friendly words with in their yard during warmer weather, he said.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” Royer said. “The person needed help. Nobody else was in sight. I think anyone who saw her would stop.”

Both Elgin Postmaster Susan Meathe and Cherie Aschenbrenner, a crime prevention specialist and elderly service officer at the Elgin Police Department, praised the couple’s actions Wednesday.

Aschenbrenner, who heard about the incident from a family member of the couple, said, “You never get to hear the good stuff. It is kind of nice to hear. They’re 80 years old themselves, and they were out in that weather.”

Royer — who retired last year as manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund at the Church of the Brethren, headquartered in Elgin — said he just was impressed how quickly emergency crews arrived on the scene. He thought the woman probably had broken her leg, he said.

The woman, whom Meathe declined to identify to protect her privacy, is at home and doing OK, she said.

The post office always appreciates when customers help out its employees, according to the postmaster. And one thing everybody can do to help its mail carriers is salt and shovel their sidewalks and driveways, she added.

“If people can keep their sidewalks and driveways free of ice, hopefully this won’t happen again,” Meathe said.

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