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A veteran U.S. letter carrier is being credited with rescuing an elderly woman who was trapped in her Long Island home for two days. News 4's Greg Cergol reports.
An elderly woman trapped in her Long Island home for two days was rescued Monday by a veteran U.S. mail deliverer who became suspicious when he saw her mailbox hadn't been emptied, Garden City police said.
The woman, 87, fell in her bathroom Saturday and became wedged between her tub and toilet, unable to get up, according to Garden City police. She remained there until Monday, when the postal worker who had been delivering her mail for decades discovered something was amiss.
"There was mail in the mailbox from Saturday, and that's a red flag," said Mario Serrano.
The sound of running water led the mail carrier to the woman's front door. He rang the bell and heard her screaming for help. That's when postman turned into first responder.
He pried open a window, found the woman and called police. He stayed with her until help arrived.
"She's the one who had the will to live," said Serrano, 53. "She's the hero."
The woman was taken to a Mineola hospital with hip injuries, said a police spokesman. According to an official at Winthrop University Medical Center, the woman has been treated and released.
Serrano's quick action has earned him a nomination for the Postmaster General's Hero Recognition award, the highest honor the Postal Service bestows on employees who go above and beyond the call of duty.
Neighbors along the Garden City street where the woman lives were not surprised to hear of Serrano's concern and speedy response.
"I call him the neighborhood watchdog," said Laura Tarr, who lives next door to the victim. "Everybody knows Mario. He's a great guy."
"He's a prince of a man," added George Salem. "He's very concerned about everyone."
Serrano has been working the same Garden City route for 26 years and said he had been checking in on the elderly woman for some time, even bringing stamps to her when she needed them.
"We check up on customers, especially when they are elderly," Serrano said. "That's the kind of customer service we do for everybody."
Neighbors describe the elderly woman as an "independent lady" who often keeps to herself. She could not be reached for comment.
"It's a miracle she survived," said George Salem.
Serrano has yet to see the woman since her rescue, but he wished her well.
"I have a mom the same age as this lady," Serrano explained. "I would hope someone would do the same for her if she needed help."
The recognition didn't seem to have much effect on the grandfather of two as he made his rounds Tuesday.
"I've got a job to do and I'm late," Serrano said as he drove away from a mob of reporters.
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