In his Thanksgiving address, President Obama thanked “the first responders and medical professionals who work through the holiday to keep us safe.” With all due respect to firefighters, police officers and all the others who form a barrier between civilization and chaos, there’s still a group whose contributions to public safety go largely unremarked: Newspaper carriers.
The early hours and travel down residential streets this job requires means newsies are better positioned than even homeowners to notice when something is amiss. They are uniquely qualified to notice early morning fires while residents slumber, for instance. Herewith, a catalog of just some of the ways newspaper carriers have saved lives, protected property and thwarted mayhem in 2013. If you’re fortunate enough to be served by one of these individuals, a year-end tip is the least you can do.
• May: Steve Bradshaw, a carrier for World Media Enterprises, pulled a man from a burning house in Reidsville, N.C. “I didn’t do anything different than anyone else would have,” Bradshaw told Danielle Battaglia of The Reidsville Review. “I would hope someone would do it for me.”
• August: Ben Carroll, a carrier for the Columbus Dispatch, saved 11 people from a burning building. “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time, and I did what I was supposed to do,” Carroll told the Dispatch’s Kathy Lynn Gray.
• August: Alexandra Rancont, a carrier for the (Livingston, Mich.) Daily Press & Argus, saved 76-year-old Dale Thurston from a fire. “I love her for what she did,” Thurston said.
• September: Eduardo Barajas, a carrier for U-T San Diego, helped 79-year-old Sarah Erman out of her burning mobile home. Barajas “said he just did what anyone else would have done,” Debbi Baker wrote.
• August: Michael Rager and Robert Geisel II, carriers for The (Johnstown, Pa.) Tribune-Democrat, came to the aid of a woman who was stabbed at a carwash. The woman died, and Geisel was struck by a mirror on a truck belonging to the man accused of stabbing her.
• October: Frankie Roseman, a carrier for the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record, slipped away from a gas-station robbery to call 911. When the suspect fled, he fired at Rossman, and police believed one of the bullets ended up in a stack of papers in his backseat. “We’ll be a little bit more cautious next Sunday, I’ll tell you that,” Roseman told the Daily Record’s Alex Frick.
• November: An unnamed carrier discovered a bomb hidden inside a teddy bear near Lattimore, N.C. He notified police, who in turn dispatched the Gastonia, N.C., bomb squad.
• December: Troy Rundstrom, a carrier for the Kennebec Journal in Maine, rescued Becky Berlew from her flooding car. Rundstrom declined comment; his mother told the Journal “This is part of a carrier’s job, I guess, to help people.”
• December: Anthony Ackeridge, a carrier for The Daytona Beach News-Journal, took a man and a baby into his warm van after the man waved him down and said he found the child abandoned. On further questioning, the man admitted he was the one trying to abandon the infant. “She was so beautiful I wanted to take her home,” Ackeridge said.
Major newspaper sales
• In one of the stranger newspaper carrier stories this year, the New York Times Company’s sale of The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was held up by a suit stemming from an incident a decade earlier, when a T&G newspaper carrier cracked a pane of glass on a customer’s porch. The newspaper ended carrier Thomas G. Driscoll Jr.’s contract, then denied him unemployment benefits, saying he was an independent contractor. He and other carriers sued, and the case became a class action matter. A judge later lifted the injunction, and the papers now belong to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry.