Heroic postman delivers 3 lives

2010-07-20 15:27
Heroic US postman Keith McVey takes a moment out from walking his route to pose for a picture in Akron, Ohio. (Amy Sancetta, AP)

Heroic US postman Keith McVey takes a moment out from walking his route to pose for a picture in Akron, Ohio. (Amy Sancetta, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ohio - Keith McVey is no ordinary postman.

He finished his afternoon deliveries, betraying no sign that anything out of the ordinary had occurred save for the blood on his uniform and the cut on his lip.

Back at the post office, he was greeted with cries of disbelief: "Did you hear? Keith saved another life today."

McVey now can't walk down the street without being honked at by passing cars filled with admirers - or, apparently, without saving a life.

"He's a rock star in our eyes," says Tina Starosto, a receptionist at King Apartments, where a sign declaring "Keith Our Hero" is on the office wall.

Over the years, McVey, 53, has helped saved three people while on his mail route, earning a reputation as the plainclothes superhero. Last week, he threw aside his bundle of mail to perform CPR on an unconscious man on the side of the road.

Two years ago, he pulled a drowning girl from the nearby lake. And nearly 20 years ago, when a teenager tried to take his life by jumping off a bridge on a snowy day, McVey, unable to stop him from jumping, covered the teen with blankets and helped keep him alive until an ambulance arrived.

Humble hero

McVey is embarrassed about displaying the many awards and newspaper clippings that showcase his acts of derring-do. It all usually starts with a cry for help.

Last week, it came from the back of a bakkie. A panicked man was trying to revive his unconscious friend.

"He said his buddy wasn't breathing," explains McVey. "I thought, 'well, let's see what's going on'. Sometimes you just have to act."

McVey, who is trained in CPR but had never actually performed it before, began chest compressions while another bystander checked the man's wrist for a pulse.

They worked on him for several minutes as a crowd began to form. McVey knew he had to keep going until the ambulance arrived.

"Pretty soon the woman said, 'I've got a pulse, I've got a pulse,"' he remembers, smiling. "And shortly after that, he started breathing on his own."

The man whom he saved did not want his name released to the media.

Near drowning

McVey's legend around town grew.

"Another carrier came in and really nonchalantly said, 'Keith saved another life'," his co-worker, Memory Valentine says.

But performing CPR was a simple affair compared to McVey's harrowing experience in the lake two years ago.

On a hot afternoon, he was depositing mail when the screams began. This time, they were coming from a 13-year-old girl flailing in the water about 21m out in the lake.

Then, to his horror, she disappeared beneath the surface.

"I screamed at her, 'Hold on, hold on, I'm coming'," he says.

He kicked off his heavy leather shoes, threw his mailbag to the ground and dove in while the girl's babysitter and younger sister screamed.

McVey is not a trained lifeguard, nor is he a particularly talented swimmer. When he reached the girl, she grabbed hold of him and immediately pulled him underwater.

"At that point I thought, 'this is a little dicey'," he said. "But I pried her off me, sent her up to the top as best I could, and she grabbed onto me again."

It was like that the whole way in: McVey would be dragged down by the frightened girl, then come up for a breath of air.

"It wasn't textbook lifesaving, but it was enough to get the job done," he says.

Back on the job

Having handed the girl over to paramedics, the postman squeezed the water out of his socks, slipped on his shoes and hauled his mail sack over his shoulder once again, still in his wet clothes.

"I mean, he went on with his mail-carrying job, soaking wet," Starosto says.

McVey simply shrugs when asked whether, given the day's extraordinary events, he might have taken the afternoon off. The thought hadn't occurred to him. Really.

"Because if I didn't finish up, they'd have to take all my mail back," he explains. "I didn't want anybody to have to pick up my slack."

The recent accolades make him feel a bit uncomfortable, but he understands the attention. After all, he's brought three lives back from the brink of death.

"I'm not sure, but after three times, I'm beginning to think there might be a little divine intervention of some sort," he says.
 

- AP

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.