Karl Herklotz knew something wasn't right when one of the homes he delivers mail to still had Saturday's mail in the box.
By Jessie Eden
An elderly woman who fell and injured herself in her home has a very observant mail carrier and caring neighbors to thank for her rescue.
Karl Herklotz, has been delivering mail along the same route in Fort Thomas for 8 years. He raised his kids here and lives in town. He's been working for USPS for 14 years and even started on overnights over in Cincinnati before moving to days and taking on his current Fort Thomas route. "I know these people from school situations, from attending St. Thomas Church. It's a great community and everybody is walking all the time. There is nothing negative about living in this community. It's well kept, generally pretty polite and with lots of activity."
It's a community that he knows and loves...so when he noticed something wasn't quite right at one of his stops along Rossmore Avenue, he just couldn't shake the feeling.
When dropping of mail to one of the residents on Rossmore Avenue, he noticed the mail hadn't been retrieved from the mailbox since Saturday. It was Monday and the woman who lived in the house, Mary, was very religious about picking up her mail. Karl said this was unusual. "I've known her for a long time -- the whole time I've been carrying this same route -- and we go to the same church," said Karl. "She's one of those people that wants to do everything for herself, drive, work around her house, cut her own grass, work in the yard. I've often stopped to talk with her while she was working in the yard so I was aware of her situation."
About a month ago, Karl was made even more aware of her situation when he came across Mary sitting on her porch swing, all banged up. "I said , 'Mary! What happened?' and she said 'Oh, I was trying to clean something and fell off a step ladder in my kitchen'.
The recent spill also had Karl worried and the minute he saw that Mary's mail was still in place from Saturday, he just felt like something was wrong. "Her car was still out front, she doesn't have any animals like a dog that would bark and the mail still in box. When I got to the next house, I though 'Nah, I have to go back and check', so I peered in, pounded on door loudly...but there was no answer."
So, Karl continued on his route to the neighbor's house and asked them if they had seen Mary over the weekend. They had admittedly been out of town...but also hadn't seen her. "I said 'I don't feel good about this, I think something might be wrong' so the neighbor got another neighbor across the street to call Mary."
After that point, Karl had to leave the situation in the hands of caring neighbors, who, after not getting an answer on the phone from Mary, met at Mary's house and attempted to contact her again. No answer.
They then decided to call Fort Thomas Police. Emergency crews came out for a wellness check and got a ladder for police to get in and check on her. "When they went in, she was on the floor in kitchen, laying on her side. She had been there for awhile, a few days. One of the officers told one of the neighbors that if she had been there much longer, she wouldn't have survived."
Thankfully that was not the case and paramedics took her to the hospital. Mary had unfortunately fallen and broken her hip. On Thursday, a neighbor was able to visit her hip surgery. She has a lengthy recovery ahead of her but Mary has survived.
Karl says it was his duty as a part of the Fort Thomas community to say something. "There's a lot of mail carriers that would have done the same thing if they had noticed these things. Even police ask us questions sometimes, we're kind of the eyes of the community. I honestly believe I was directed from above."