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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Sikeston letter carrier comes to rescue of stranded woman

Thursday, October 28, 2004

(Photo)
Donald Holman visits with Ann Fulbright in her hospital room Wednesday.
SIKESTON -- Helping others on the job is pretty much a given for Donald Holman.

Over the past 20 years, the U.S. Postal Service letter carrier has assisted people on his mail routes, but on a much smaller scale, such as spotting a fire and reporting it, he said.

But nothing can compare to Holman's latest answer to the call of duty -- coming to the rescue of a Sikeston woman stranded in her home for four days.

Around 11:30 a.m. Oct. 20 Holman grew suspicious when he noticed the mail and newspapers piling up at one of the homes on his route in Sikeston.

"She doesn't normally leave mail there for very long," said 51-year-old Holman of Sikeston. "There were also newspapers left in yard. That's what got my attention. I thought something might be wrong."

Holman knocked on the front door and thought he heard a voice coming from inside the home. So he walked around the house to knock on one of the windows.

"When I knocked on the window, I heard her calling out. She said, 'Help, I've fallen and I can't get up' and something about calling an ambulance," Holman recalled.

All of the doors and windows were locked so Holman contacted the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, who responded to the scene with an ambulance.

The voice inside the home was 66-year-old Ann Fulbright.

"I just remember getting weaker and falling and not being able to get back up," recalled Fulbright from her hospital room.

Fulbright doesn't remember much of the four days, but she remembered the moment she saw someone outside her window. "My windows are pretty close to the ground and I saw somebody moving and figured this was my only chance," Fulbright said.

Holman said he stayed at Fulbright's home until the ambulance transported Fulbright to the hospital. Then he resumed his mail route.

On Wednesday Holman reunited with Fulbright for the first time since the incident occurred by paying her a visit in her hospital room.

"I really appreciate everything you did," Fulbright told Holman.

Fulbright said doctors are still unsure about her diagnosis, and she remains in the hospital for now. Not one to brag on himself, Holman said he doesn't consider himself a hero -- he just did what anybody else would've done in the situation.

"I'm just glad I paid attention and saw her mail was accumulating. I just hate that no one knew she was there sooner," Holman said.

Fulbright doesn't have much family in the area, only a couple of cousins, but they, too, are grateful to Holman.

"I think he was a wonderful person for doing what he did. If it hadn't been for that, I think it's quite possible she wouldn't be here with us," said Fulbright's cousin, Carol Whitler of Jackson.

Whitler said she thinks Holman should be named the citizen of the year in Sikeston.

Fulbright's neighbor, Joyce Hixon, agreed. Hixon also rode the ambulance with Fulbright after rushing over to the home following the commotion.

"If I had to vote for the best mail carrier in world, I'd vote for Don. I believe the Lord led him to do what he did. He's the No. 1 mail carrier," Hixon said.

And Fulbright, a former guidance counselor, noted it's nice to know there are still people out there who will take a little time out of their schedules to at least try to investigate when they suspect something is wrong.

Prior to the incident, Fulbright and Holman had only exchanged a few "Good evenings" and "Have we got any mail today?" they joked.

"I'm just glad he heard my voice," said Fulbright from her hospital bed. "And I hope I get to see him in his mail regalia again."