As a postman, Josh Hefta survey’s his neighborhood every day. So, when something is off on 162 stop route in Walsh County North Dakota, he knows it. That’s why he became suspicious when he arrived at then 94-year-old Alice Pasche’s house and didn’t hear a sound.
Hefta always made sure to hand deliver Paschke’s mail.
“Alice was just a nice lady, and she was out there by herself,” Hefta told The Bismark Tribune.
Hefta started delivering her mail to her door as a courtesy since the weather was getting cold and to check up on Paschke to make sure she was OK. The can of Coke and Rice Krispies treat that she would give him every single day was definitely an added bonus.
So, her not answering the door set off a big alarm in his head.
“I thought I could hear a faint somebody in the house,” he recalls.
Finally, Hefta could hear Paschke call out to him.
“I said, ‘Come in.’ I said, ‘I need help,’” she said. “He saved my life. And that’s a true story.”
Paschke had fallen and been lying on the floor of her home, unable to get up or reach the phone, for 20 hours. She knew that the mailman would be by around 12:45 p.m. and that would be the only chance she would have of getting some help.
With all the force he could muster, Hefta charged at Paschke’s door to break it down.
“I hit it pretty good twice, and it popped up,” he told WDAY6. “Adrenaline I guess.”
“I thought I was in heaven already,” Paschke said.
Hefta was awarded the Postmaster General Award, the highest award a mail carrier can receive, for rescuing Paschke and will have his name added to the Heroes Wall at the Postal Service headquarters in Washington D.C.
“I’m quite honored actually; I’ve never had anything like this happen to me,” Hefta said. “Pretty big honor.”
Paschke now lives at the Grafton Nursing Home and says she misses Hefta’s afternoon visit. So, does Hefta.
“Now I got to pack my own drinks,” he joked.
According to Hefta, checking on elderly residents is a part of his training as a mail carrier.
“For the rest of my life, for as long as my memory works, I’m going to remember,” said Paschke. “Just a good mailman and I can’t forget him.”
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