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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Postal worker honored for actions
Rural carrier rescued Wirtz woman in distress
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Staff Photo by Charles Boothe: Tracey Rigney (center) holds a clock presented to her by the U.S. Postal Service for her actions last summer. Regional postal manager Vickie Schnuerer holds a letter of accommodation for Rigney from U.S. Postmaster General John Potter. At left is Wirtz Postmaster Rob Struppler.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

With the temperature near 100 degrees on a scorching summer day earlier this year, rural mail carrier Tracey Rigney was making her rounds to about 700 households in the Wirtz area.

At a stop on Whispering Meadow Drive, she heard a lady yelling, "Hey, hey."

"I didn't see anyone, so I waved anyway," Rigney said, thinking that someone was just being friendly.

But when Rigney was pulling away from the stop, she heard the yell again, making out the words, "I've fallen. I need some help."

Stopping her vehicle, Rigney got out and started looking around, still not seeing anyone.

Then she spotted a woman who was lying in the yard.

"She had fallen and had no energy to get herself up," Rigney said, adding that the lady did not appear to be injured other than a few scratches.

After helping her up and getting the lady into her house, Rigney learned that the woman's husband would not be home until much later in the day and she had fallen in a place that could have meant no one else would have seen or heard her.

"I was at the right place at the right time for a reason," she said.

For her willingness to go out of her way to help and preventing what could have been a tragedy, Rigney was cited by the U.S. Postal Service for her actions.

On Tuesday, Vickie Schnuerer, regional manager of postal operations, visited the Wirtz Post Office to present Rigney with an accommodation from Postmaster General John Potter and the postal service's "Hero Award," a glass-encased clock.

"I read with pride of your initiative to help a customer in distress," Potter wrote in the accommodation. "You are to be commended for the care and assistance you rendered to a woman who had fallen outside of her home, unable to get up. Thank you for coming to her rescue and for the concern you show to the customers in your community."

Wirtz Postmaster Rob Struppler said he has worked with rural carriers for 21 years and Rigney is "at the top" of the list in her work.

Struppler also presented Rigney with a gift from the Wirtz Post Office in appreciation of her work and support.

Rigney lives in Wirtz with her husband, James, and son Kyle, who is a junior at Franklin County High School. The Rigneys have another son, Kevin, who is 21.

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