Chicago USPS mail carrier helped rescue 89-year-old woman who fell and couldn’t get up

on Feb3
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A United States Postal Service worker in Chicago is being called “an angel” after saving an 89-year-old woman last month, according to a report by Fox Television Stations’ Stephanie Weaver.

Shonda Lemon, 34, working at her job as a USPS mail carrier in Chicago (Photo courtesy of Shonda Lemon/Fox Television Stations)

Shonda Lemon, 34, working at her job as a USPS mail carrier in Chicago (Photo courtesy of Shonda Lemon/Fox Television Stations)

Shonda Lemon, who has worked as a mail carrier with USPS for eight years, told Weaver that she often says hello and holds short conversations with 89-year-old Helen Iwanski, a customer she’s delivered mail to for the last four years. 

“We gained a nice, little, personal relationship with one another,” Lemon reportedly said, noting that she has even began wrapping rubber bands around Iwanski’s mail to help her grip the bundle more easily. 

But Lemon recently had a feeling something was wrong after she noticed Iwanski had not picked up her mail for three days straight. 

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Lemon told Weaver that she knew Iwanski lived alone, didn’t have children and hadn’t traveled in years, prompting the 34-year-old to call the police on Jan. 14 in order to do a wellness check. 

“Those factors alone is what triggered me to know that there was something wrong, especially when she left her parcels on the porch overnight,” Lemon said.

Police came to Iwanski’s home within five minutes of Lemon’s call and found Iwanski on the ground. She had fallen and had been lying on the floor for several days.

When the police officer told Lemon that Iwanski was still alive, Lemon told Weaver she became overwhelmed.

“I began to cry, because it was a rejoicing moment for me, knowing that I had assisted her in sparing her life,” Lemon explained. “And, ya know it was just the pain and thought of what she may have been going through for those three days on the floor.”

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Following the rescue, Iwanski was admitted to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. Her family said they are thankful that Lemon suspected things were not right and acted on it.

“She’s one of God’s children and she was looking out for another one of his kids,” Mary Mason, Iwanski’s niece, told Fox Television Stations. “Shonda is just a very thoughtful and caring person.”

“My Aunt [Helen Iwanski] sends her love and appreciation to Shonda for being there for her. She said she will be forever grateful for Shonda caring enough to call the police,” Mason continued. “My family continues to pray for Shonda and want nothing but the best for her always.”

A family photo with Helen Iwanski, 89 (seated) (Photo courtesy of Mary Mason/Fox Television Stations)

A family photo with Helen Iwanski, 89 (seated) (Photo courtesy of Mary Mason/Fox Television Stations)

Iwanski is currently out of the hospital and is getting stronger every day at a rehabilitation center.

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USPS told Fox Television Stations in a statement that it is very proud of Lemon’s actions. 

“Postal Service employees know the habits of their customers and the rhythms of their communities, and are often the first to notify emergency personnel and render aid when something is wrong,” USPS spokesperson Tim Norman said. “Employees have been commended for going above and beyond the call of duty in a variety of situations, such as assisting lost children, getting help for sick or injured customers, spotting fires, and more. It’s another example of the heroic actions taken by an employee in the neighborhood they serve.” 

Lemon said that she is overwhelmed by the response and calls the public’s reaction “mind-blowing.”

“I was just being who I am on a daily basis. I’m always concerned about my elderly customers, especially those that live alone,” Lemon said.

She added the experience has taught her that it pays to be aware and be attentive. 

“At the end of the day, we’re a village, and we need each other to look out for one another,” Lemon said. “This is more than a job for me. It’s more of a community, it’s more of a village, and I’m just thankful that I paid attention to these circumstances and was able to spare this woman’s life.”



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