2009-05-01 / Community

Mail Carrier Turned Hero

By Nicholas Briano

A Rockaway Beach woman's guardian angel came to her aid in the shape of a local mail carrier whose attentiveness and presence of mind saved her from the trapped confines of her own kitchen.

The 72-year-old, lifelong Rockaway resident and retired schoolteacher wishes to remain anonymous for the fact that her story of survival is not about her, but rather the heroic actions of Melvin Cauley, Jr., 27, her mail carrier of five years.

Her ordeal, she describes, began on Thursday, January 29, when she fell at home, injuring her knees and wrists. She lay helpless on the floor, suffering from dehydration and fatigue, unable to get up. It wasn't until the following Friday, February 5 when she was rescued by police.

"I tried to sit down and fell on my knees," she said. "I tried to push myself up with a broomstick but couldn't make it. I am so grateful that he cared enough to inquire about me."

As a result of delivering mail to her home for so many years, Cauley says he got to know her pretty well, noting she would often get packages and he would even help carry them inside for her.

Therefore, he found it strange that during the first week of February she failed to pick up her mail and several notices for UPS packages were left stuck to her front door.

"It was unlike her. I knew something must have been wrong," Cauley said. "I honestly feared she had died."

- Excerpted from The Wave 2-20-09

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