North East mail carrier honored for aiding sick man
NORTH EAST -- Bobbie Kelly said she's still in awe over the attention she has received for coming to the aid of a sick man while she was delivering mail in June.
Kelly, 34, of Waterford, was walking her route as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in North East when she spotted a dog, then a man lying facedown on Robinson Street. Glenn Luebke would later learn that he had blood clots in his lungs, and he was told by many who treated him that the outcome could have been much different if Kelly hadn't found him that morning.
"They said she was definitely a lifesaver," said Luebke, 55.
Kelly was submitted for, and received, the Postmaster General's Hero Award for her actions, North East Postmaster Al Smith said. Articles were published on www.postalreporter.com and www.postalnews.com in November.
All of the notice "doesn't seem real," Kelly said.
"I was always taught when someone is in trouble, you call 911," she said. "You always treat people the way you want to be treated. If ever I was in trouble or anything happened to me, I would want someone to do that for me."
Kelly said she had come around a corner that June morning when she saw Luebke's Welsh corgi sitting in the grass, then discovered Luebke on the ground next to the dog. Kelly noticed that Luebke was unconscious and that he was breathing, but was discolored, so she called 911 and grabbed the dog's leash so she couldn't run away.
Kelly then called her supervisor, Pat Vahey, who got there as police and other first responders were getting to the scene.
Kelly said she held the dog for a bit after the ambulance left, then gave the dog to a North East police officer, who turned it over to Luebke's neighbor. She said she asked Vahey to knock on Luebke's door, but no one was home.
Luebke, who works as a clerk for the Erie Bureau of Police, said he and his dog were on their "normal routine" of going for a walk that morning when he started struggling, as if someone had shut off his air supply, as he was about 25 yards from his house. He said he remembered turning around and thinking that he had to get home and call 911. The next thing he remembered was being in the back of an ambulance heading toward UPMC Hamot.
Luebke said his wife learned from police that Kelly had come to Luebke's aid that morning. He knew Kelly, as they had talked before, he said.
Some time after Luebke was released from the hospital, he said he and his wife were walking their dog when they ran into Kelly. He hugged her and thanked her.
"She was just ecstatic I was upright," Luebke said.
He said Kelly told him she wanted him to carry his cell phone wherever he goes.
"I consider myself a lucky guy to be here. Without her, who knows?" Luebke said. "She's just a friend for life now."
TIM HAHN can be reached at 870-1731 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNhahn.