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August 1, 2016

Ohio postal clerk lauded for helping save customer's life

Justin Dennis
Star Beacon

ROME, Ohio — In March, Marcus Pierson was sitting in the back office of the Rome Post Office when he “heard a loud thud.” He said he thought it was someone dropping off a batch of mail — but it sounded much bigger than a full basket.

He came out front to find a customer, a Rome man, unconscious on the floor, his hat covering his face.

“At first, I thought he was dead — he wasn’t moving, he wasn’t breathing,” Pierson said.

Luckily, the South Central Ambulance District garage is only a few buildings away from the post office.

He said he ran outside, called 911 to summon one over and then ran back to check on the man

By that point, he had turned purple.

Pierson, 27, said he didn’t know CPR — he’d only seen it done on TV and film — and the other customer in the post office at the time wasn’t trained either.

“I was scared. ... I was almost in tears. It was the weirdest feeling in the world. I almost felt helpless,” he said —but he started the chest compressions anyway.

“I didn’t even know if it was working or not,” he said, but “he took a breath — it let me know he was still alive.”

The SCAD response took four minutes, but Pierson said it felt three times that long. They arrived with oxygen masks and charged defibrillators, resuscitated the man, then transported him to a hospital.

Pierson said the man’s vehicle was still in the parking lot, with a dog in the back seat, so he found a way to contact the man’s wife and tell her what happened.

“She came up and gave hugs, then went to go see her husband,” he said, and an hour later he got a call saying the man survived.

It took some time before he regained his memory, Pierson said, but he’s since made a full recovery. Pierson said during the ordeal, he recognized the man.

“We didn’t talk much. We would wave at each other. He would come in, get mail and leave,” he said — now, they gab about the Browns or the Cavs, like fast friends. “He, of course, has thanked me a million times.”

It was Pierson’s heroism-under-pressure that earned him the Postmaster General’s Hero Award, given to him during a surprise ceremony July 19 at the Orwell Post Office.

His boss told him to be there that morning to train an employee. But the man he helped save in March was waiting, along with his wife, Pierson’s father and stepmother, USPS Postmaster Bruce Murdock and Northern Ohio District manager Troy Seanor, who handed Pierson the certificate.

“The Postmaster General’s Hero Award recognized the contribution Pierson made in saving a customer’s life,” reads a USPS official release — although Pierson was modest about the “hero” part, saying it was SCAD that saved the man’s life.

“Marcus Pierson takes his duties and position with the USPS very seriously every day,” former Orwell postmaster Mari Beth Kirkland was quoted in the release. “He is an inspiring young man and an outstanding employee.”

He was given a whole day off for “administrative leave,” he said. He thinks his actions also might have had something to do with his impending, albeit small, promotion to Officer in Charge — “basically postmaster without the title or pay,” he joked.

He said he starts heading up the Newbury Post Office in Geauga County next week, while also bouncing back to help new Rome workers get their bearings.

He said he hopes to make management in the future.

Neither the man Pierson helped save nor USPS representatives could be reached for comment.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2016 the Star Beacon