- Jennifer Peters
In the wee hours of the morning, with the sun still tucked behind the horizon, newspaper carriers across the country load up cars and trucks with stacks of newsprint and start their commutes, going store to store and house to house, bringing their customers the day’s news. They are there and gone, often before the readers ever wake up, invisible bearers of the news. If you walked down the street, you might not even recognize your newspaper carrier, so good are they at providing a service without being seen or heard, aside from the soft thwack of your newspaper hitting your front step.
In celebration of the hard work of these dedicated men and women, the Alliance is celebrating International Newspaper Carrier Day on October 7. Carrier Day is celebrated each year as part of the annual National Newspaper Week, which has been underway all this week and culminates with Carrier Day. We’re kicking things off with a roundup of some of the most impressive, incredible, and heartwarming stories about newspaper carriers from the past year.
On August 2, Mari Schlegel was delivering the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star when she noticed a home on her route was on fire. After calling 911, Schlegel knocked on the door of the house to wake up the resident, Debra Sherard, and alert her to the fire. Thanks to Schlegel’s quick thinking, Sherard and her pets escaped the house unharmed, and the fire department was able to put out the fire before it spread further through the house.
- Similar Story: South Dakota Deliveryman Rick Schreibvogel Saves the Day
- Similar Story: Carrier Casey Ellerbeck Helps Rescue Elderly Subscriber After Slip-and-Fall
When Debbie Brazell, a newspaper delivery woman for Columbia, South Carolina’s The State newspaper, noticed that papers were piling up in the paper box of a long-time subscriber on her route, she thought something had to be wrong. After completing her route, Brazell looped back to the home of Annie-Ruth Cooper to see if the papers had been picked up. When she saw they were still piled up, she went to Cooper’s door to check in on the 93-year-old. Cooper had fallen and couldn’t get up, so Brazell called 911 and waited until help arrived to break down the door and take Cooper to the hospital. Cooper, it turned out, had fallen and blacked out on Friday, and was not found until Brazell arrived on Monday. Since then, Brazell has checked in with other elderly subscribers on her route to make sure she has contact info for their families in case anything else happens.
Josh Long was out delivering copies of The Columbian, a local paper in Vancouver, Washington, in August, when he spotted a strange bright light a few houses away from where he was stopped. He quickly realized that the light was coming from a fire, and that the flames were beginning to inch up the side of the house. Long called 911 and then rushed to the house and knocked on the door to alert any residents. The homeowner, Chuck Graves, was able to grab a fire extinguisher and put out some of the fire while his wife escaped the home. Thanks to Long’s actions, the family was safe and firefighters put out the fire before it caused further damage.
In May, Vero Beach police received a call from a Press Journal carrier supervisor saying that one of his newspaper carriers had spotted two men running with guns while along his route. When police met with the carrier, they were able to identify five auto burglaries that had occurred in the area as well. The suspects were later caught, in large part because of the carrier’s tip. The local sheriff told WPTV, “The newspaper carrier made these arrests possible. It is a safer day in Indian River County because of our quality law enforcement efforts and the assistance we received from this tipster.”
When Jennifer Jackson was in a car crash while out delivering The Express in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, one of her first thoughts was of her route. Although she was severely injured in the September crash, she was still worried about her customers getting their papers. So, while lying in an ambulance at 4 a.m., Jackson called her boss to let him know that she wouldn’t be able to finish her deliveries. She let him know which homes she had already visited, and exactly where she’d been forced to stop so that another carrier could complete her route. Her dedication to her job showed readers just how much their carriers care about getting the news out each morning.
While not every newspaper carrier has literally saved a life, they are all big parts of their communities, and news outlets across the country will be sharing their stories for International Newspaper Carrier Day.