Elizabeth, NJ, Letter Carrier Patrick Daly knew that customers Francis and Joan Downey were away on vacation recently.
So when he was delivering mail and detected smoke coming from their home of more than 50 years, he knew it was up to him to try and save it.
Daly rushed to a neighbor’s house and asked a resident to call 911.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it caused extensive damage.
The Downeys’ son-in-law, Charles Andrews, later contacted the local Postmaster to commend Daly.
The couple would have been particularly devastated by the loss of their home late in life, Andrews pointed out, with repercussions for both their physical and mental health.
“Letter carriers are the fabric of the community,” Andrews said at a local Post Office ceremony honoring Daly.
“This is the kind of thing that makes Elizabeth — and our country — great.”