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Local letter carrier honored for saving life of 8-year-old boy with autism

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Lars Edleblute

WASHINGTON, DC.  –  A York County letter carrier was recognized at a special luncheon Wednesday in Washington, DC by the National Association of Letter Carriers for saving the life of an 8-year-old child with autism last December.  Lars Edleblute, was among 8 letter carriers honored as heroes in their respective communities. Edleblute was named the Eastern Regional Hero of the Year by the NALC.

The York Township letter carrier felt that he did not do anything out of the ordinary, but the judges thought otherwise.

A description of the event that earned his recognition is as follows:

Loading up his vehicle at the post office in pouring rain on December 1, 2015, York, Pa Branch 509 member Lars Edleblute suddenly heard a woman yelling while she ran toward a highway. “I wasn’t sure why,” he said. “I was wondering what’s happening.”

The city carrier assistant scanned the area. He spotted a small child first climb over a fence separating the neighborhood where the post office was from a busy four-lane highway, and then dart across the roadway.

“I saw him jump the fence and I panicked,” Edleblute said.

The woman stood in place and was frantically crying on the phone with a 911 operator. But Edleblute went into action and followed after the 8-year-old boy. “My fatherly instincts jumped in,” the carrier said. “I just ran up the hill and jumped over the fence.”

Once he was on the other side, Edleblute saw that the youngster had made it to the middle of the busy highway, with traffic going in both directions. “It was pouring rain and no one was slowing down or stopping,” Edleblute said.

The carrier waited for a break in the traffic and then darted to the middle of the road. By the time he reached there, the boy had made it to the other side and was now running along the side of the highway toward the next exit.

When Edleblute finally caught up to the boy, he grabbed a harness that was attached to him, put his arm around him and held his hand. “He didn’t say much, except, ‘I just want to go to church,’ ” the carrier said. He told the child, “It’s OK; we are going on an adventure.”

The boy was mumbling, so Edleblute tried to keep him calm. (He later found out that the boy is autistic.)

Eventually, a passerby came to help. They safely escorted the boy across the highway and back to his mother, who had stayed behind the fence. She was thankful when they put the boy over the fence and returned him safely to her care.

The second-year letter carrier doesn’t think he did anything out of the ordinary, though. “I just feel like I did my job,” Edleblute said. “I was just happy I was there to save the boy.”

The Heroes of the Year judges disagreed. “He really stabilized the situation by getting to the child,” they said, “and he kept his cool and kept his wits about him in an unpredictable situation.”

Edleblute said he’s not used to media attention, but that he wouldn’t change anything about his actions if he could. “I’m very proud of what I did,” he said. “I was just doing my job and trying to keep people safe, that’s all.”

To read descriptions of the other honorees click Beyond the call of duty

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