Two Postal Service employees from Florida — who responded bravely to life-threatening fires in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale — each received the top hero of the year award from the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
It is the first time the union has designated two National Hero of the Year recipients, who were recognized Sept. 26 at the union’s annual luncheon in Washington, DC.
“I always look out for my customers,” said Jason Moss of Tampa, who rescued a disabled man during a house fire. “But they’re more like family now. You form a bond with them.”
John Sylvain of Fort Lauderdale, who aided two customers during a similar emergency, told attendees that all of the honorees hope to be seen as positive role models.
“If you do more positive things in the world, you get more positive things back,” he said.
The NALC also named three regional heroes: Peter Monteleone of Mount Kisco, NY, who intercepted a home burglar; Brandon Franklin of West Bloomfield, MI, who stopped a runaway car; and Antonio Colon of Chino, CA, who defended a 90-year-old customer during an attempted assault.
Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, one of the special guests at the event, thanked the award recipients for doing more than delivering mail.
“You represent, care about and live in your communities,” she said. “Know that you make a difference.”
Other honorees were:
- Ebony Nobles of Houston, for humanitarian efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey
- Naseem Elias of Sterling Heights, MI, for Arabic translation during a customer’s medical crisis
- A trio of active and retired Detroit-area employees — Dennis Denham, Steve Futach and Joseph Pomante — for teaming up to assist an injured customer
After the luncheon, Franklin — like all of the award recipients — emphasized that heroic incidents are simply a reflection of a universal helping instinct.
“At the end of the day, we’re all in it together — one human looking out for another human,” he said.