Theresa Jo Belkota of Lewiston will be honored in Washington, D.C. Wednesday by the National Association of Letter Carriers as a 2019 Letter Carrier of the Year. She is one of six letter carriers from across the country who were selected by a panel of judges for performing critical acts of heroism and good will under traumatic conditions.
In Belkota's case, it was June 1, 2018. The 25-year veteran was preparing dinner at home, when she heard screams for help. Belkota ran outside to help and found her neighbor had accidentally backed over her 10-year-old son Gavin with a lawn mower, severing the boy's foot.
Belkota jumped into action, performing the necessary medical aid until emergency services could respond, even though she had no formal medical training herself.
She took off her shirt, wrapped the boy’s leg and applied pressure to the artery to limit blood loss. Fearing Gavin would go into shock, she calmly gave instructions to other family members to search the yard for the foot, get ice and a blanket and repeatedly recite "The Lord's Prayer" while the boy's mother was on the phone with 911.
Her actions were credited for saving Gavin's leg and possibly his life. She will be honored with letter carriers who saved people from car accidents or home fires, helped rescue a teenager who had been abused for months by her captors and turned a personal tragedy into a campaign to help others.