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Heroic mail-carrying mom.

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) held a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on September 17 of last year to honor letter carriers for heroic deeds. One of those recognized was Mrs. Elizabeth Myers, of Columbia, South Carolina, who has delivered mail for 17 years. She and husband Jerome have three children, who were ages 7, 12 and 21 when their mom was honored.

On January 17, 2003, Myers was delivering mail to a home on her route when she noticed flames coming from the house. Myers knew the residents--Charles and Elizabeth Rought, an elderly father and his daughter--and recognized their vehicles in the driveway. Surmising that the two were probably trapped inside the building, Myers called 911 and began looking for a way to get into the house.

Since flames engulfed the front, Myers tried to force open a back door. When the door gave way, a burst of stifling smoke enveloped Myers. "The smoke just came pouring out, thick and hot, and I fell to the floor," she recalled for the October 2003 Postal Record (the NALC's monthly magazine). She noticed Mr. Rought's feet about a body length inside the room. "He was stretched out on his back," she remembers. "I didn't know if he was alive or dead. But I knew I had to get him out."

Myers tried to drag Rought, but could not. Forced by heat and smoke to leave for a breath of fresh air, she enlisted the help of a neighbor and a bystander who had arrived at the scene. Entering the burning structure a second time, Myers grasped the elderly man's legs while the neighbor and bystander grabbed Myers' legs and dragged her out as she held onto Rought.

By this time, flames fully engulfed the home and prevented any attempt to locate and rescue Elizabeth Rought, who perished in the inferno (32 firefighters fought the blaze for a half hour before it was contained). Mr. Rought died a few days later.

Myers was briefly hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation. Reflecting on her courageous act, she says: "I didn't stop to think about the danger. People have asked me, 'You're the mother of two young children, how could you?' My answer is, 'How could you not?' I hope somebody would do the same for me and my family."
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Title Annotation:The Goodness Of America
Author:Lee, Robert W.
Publication:The New American
Date:Mar 8, 2004
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