On Oct. 29, 2014, mail carrier Michael Murphy heard a cry for help and didn't hesitate to answer the call. On Wednesday, he was rewarded by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) for his bravery.
Murphy works in Florissant, MO, and had ended his shift when he walked out of a bread store to hear a young girl shouting, "Somebody help my mommy," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He rushed toward the screams and saw a man armed with a cinder block attempting to break into several cars by smashing in their windows. The girl's mother had fallen while trying to run away, and the man was now about to attack her.
At that moment, an SUV pulled up with several passengers inside, according to local news station Fox 2. The man attacked that vehicle with his cinder block, and one passenger, a woman, fell out of the car while trying to escape. Murphy saw that the man was now poised to attack the woman, and his protective instincts kicked in.
Murphy, who lives in Troy, IL, and is a Marine Corps veteran and Navy reservist, rushed over to help the victims. He described the scene to the NALC, saying, "I then grabbed him by his arm and picked him up by his legs and slammed him to the ground." A passerby helped subdue the attacker, and police soon arrived to arrest the man, who was later revealed to have a record as a violent offender.
Murphy's act of heroism did not go unnoticed. On Wednesday, he was named the Central Region Hero of the Year by the NALC at a luncheon in Washington DC. Murphy does not consider himself a hero, however. "When I saw this, I thought about my mom and sister," he said, according to the Post-Dispatch. "If you are conscious and mindful, then you help someone." For Murphy, helping people is an intrinsic part of his profession, even on regular days. "We deliver more than mail and packages," he said in an NALC interview. "We deliver smiles, we deliver encouragement. We're part of your daily lives."
The NALC rewarded several other letter carriers during the ceremony, saying that people in the profession "often assist in situations involving car crashes, fires, crimes or health crises." One letter carrier from York County was praised for helping a child with autism who had wandered onto a busy highway, according to local Fox 43. Another carrier from Detroit, MI, was honored for rescuing a mother and daughter from a burning house. The National Hero of the Year award was given to a mail carrier from Snellville, GA, for saving a girl from an attacking Pit Bull.