Mark Pizzo choked back tears as he accepted the top hero of the year award from the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Sept. 21.
He told the audience at the union’s annual luncheon in Washington, DC, that several days after he rescued a little girl from a vicious dog attack, an unfamiliar man approached him, wanting to know if the Rock Hill, SC, letter carrier was the one in the news.
Yes, Pizzo told him. The man extended his hand and said, “Thank you for saving my granddaughter’s life.”
“All this is great,” Pizzo told the luncheon attendees, describing the recognition he’s received, which includes a PMG Hero Award and an appearance on Steve Harvey’s talk show.
But a grandfather’s gratitude?
“That means more to me than anything.”
The NALC also honored three regional heroes: Lars Edleblute of York, PA, who rescued an autistic boy who ran onto a busy highway; Michael Murphy of Hazelwood, MO, who restrained a man on a violent rampage; and David Crestik of Santee, CA, who carried a customer out of her burning home.
Other honorees were:
- Evangeline Johnson of Detroit for waking up a sleeping mother whose house was on fire
- Patrick Byrne of Lynn, MA, for strengthening resources for postal employees and family members affected by addiction, mental illness and suicide
- A Syracuse, NY, branch office for rallying around a teenage USPS fan struggling with cancer
- Brad Gentz of Mason City, IA, for sharing his love of running with a wheelchair-bound boy who now accompanies him in marathons
The NALC site has more information about the honorees.