The Postmaster General Hero award was presented to Hiawatha substitute carrier Jim Lovelady (center). On the right is Wes Gronemyer, Manager of Post Office Operations, Omaha, Neb., on the left is C.J. Lincoln, Postmaster/MPOO Detail, Junction City.

A Hiawatha rural mail carrier was presented the U.S. Postal Service’s “Postmaster General Hero” award on May 10.

Hiawatha Postmaster Mark A. Hoffman said that Jim Lovelady received the award for his actions on Feb. 24, when he helped a resident, Mary Kleppe.

Hoffman said Lovelady noticed Kleppe lying at the bottom of her icy steps.

“She is 82 and lives alone in the country,” he said. “She had fallen on the ice near her garage and drug herself about 50 feet to the steps, but couldn’t get up and into the house.”

Hoffman said that thankfully, Lovelady, had arrived and was able to call 911 and wait with her until paramedics arrived. He got some blankets and sat with her until the ambulance could arrive, which was about 30 minutes later.

“She may have frozen to death there if he hadn’t seen her,” Hoffman said. “As a lifelong resident of Hiawatha, Lovelady truly cares about the people here and the customers he serves on the rural routes. He is always willing to help anyone and is a great part of our postal team. It’s great to have someone with his character and people skills working with us at the Postal Service.”

Lovelady was presented the Postmaster General Hero award on May 10 from Postmaster General Megan Brennan.

Lovelady said his main concern that day was for Kleppe’s safety.

“I was specifically looking out for her because I saw her earlier in the week out on her driveway, trying to chip away the ice,” Lovelady said. “I kind of scolded her and talked her into going back inside that day. Three or four days later, when I saw that she had fallen and waited with her for emergency personnel to arrive, she was concerned that I would be late getting my route done if I stayed with her. She’s a sweet elderly lady and my only concern was that she was safe and being helped.”

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