Duluth mail carrier again helps to save a lifeFate follows Mike Sylvester like a shadow. The mail carrier who was named a “Hero of the Year” by the U.S. Postal Service in 2012 was at it again early Tuesday afternoon when he found Paul Paquette, 76, on his back near the steps of his home on West 10th Street in Lincoln Park.
By: Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune
Fate follows Mike Sylvester like a shadow.
The mail carrier who was named a “Hero of the Year” by the U.S. Postal Service in 2012 was at it again early Tuesday afternoon when he found Paul Paquette, 76, on his back near the steps of his home on West 10th Street in Lincoln Park.
“Right place at the right time again,” Sylvester said Wednesday.
He was honored last year after pulling a woman from her badly wrecked car after an accident along his route.
Paquette’s wife, Florence, and Sylvester both said consequences could have been very serious if Sylvester hadn’t arrived when he did. Paquette probably would have lain there a long time because the approach to the home is off an alley and snow mounds kept him hidden.
“He said he was hurt bad,” Sylvester said.
He called 911 and then called the couple’s son. Florence was away from home at the time.
“If it wasn’t for Mike, I don’t know,” she said.
Sylvester said it was fortunate the weather was relatively warmer Tuesday. He shuddered to think of Paquette struggling in the subzero temperatures of recent weeks. It was just above zero Tuesday.
Paquette was doing better Wednesday after surgery for a broken hip, Florence said. He remains in a lot of pain.
“I’m happy he made it through,” she said, adding her husband has suffered a series of medical setbacks recently.
Despite those woes, Sylvester said he knows Paquette is a “tough guy.” He has grown accustomed to seeing Paquette walking around the neighborhood in the eight years he’s been on the Lincoln Park route.
Florence Paquette said she wasn’t aware of the award Sylvester won last year. He was one of six people from across the country who received recognition for selfless acts in all kinds of life-saving situations along their mail routes.
“Mike is one of the best,” she said. “He deserves the recognition.”
Neighbors of the Paquettes were aware of the previous honor and let the News Tribune know their mail carrier saved the day again. Steve Dehaan, who lives next door, said Sylvester “always has a smile” and can be counted on anytime.
He said his dogs have loved him and Sylvester reciprocated with dog treats. One day, Dehaan called Sylvester to see if he was nearby and able to help lift one of his ailing dogs into his car for a vet visit.
Sylvester came right over, Dehaan said.
“I told him that it could be the last time he’d see her,” Dehaan said. “He started tearing up.”
Sylvester said fate was doubly on his side Tuesday. He picked up a co-worker’s route and was late covering his own. Had he been on time, he might have come and gone before Paquette’s fall.
“It was the right time,” he said. “It could have been bad.”