SIMMONS / BLADE Enlarge
Letter carrier Charles Blasingame is used to seeing mail piling up in the boxes along his route - sometimes as much as four or five days' worth.
But never at the home of Franklin and Frances Mascho.
It was only the previous day's mail left uncollected by the elderly couple that alerted the 32-year U.S. Postal Service veteran that something was wrong.
Yesterday, Mr. Blasingame stood modestly before his colleagues at the post office's West Toledo Station where he was honored for his intuition March 3, the day he found Mr. and Mrs. Mascho on the floor, where they had been for two days.
"I knew the gentleman from previous deliveries, and if I had a package for him, he'd be out there waiting before I'd get to the door," said Mr. Blasingame, 53. "When I didn't get an answer at the door, I checked the mail. I knew he'd never leave without picking up the mail."
Mr. Blasingame was right. About two days earlier, Mr. Mascho, 80, experienced a brain seizure, causing him to fall, his daughter, Corrine Martin, said.
Mrs. Mascho, who had had a stroke six years earlier, tried crawling to her husband's aid but couldn't get far, Mrs. Martin added. The couple stayed on the floor, hoping help would come.
Mr. Blasingame wasn't supposed to be the one delivering their mail that day. He took over a route for a colleague. But he knew the Maschos and was surprised not to find them home.
After poking his head in the door, Mr. Blasingame heard Mr. Mascho's calls for help. He called paramedics and stayed until help arrived.
"I feel he was an angel sent from God that day," said Mrs. Martin, of Dayton, who is staying in Toledo while her parents recover. "My grandfather was a letter carrier, and I just know that day he was proud."
Mr. Blasingame reluctantly stopped sorting mail yesterday to be recognized by the post office. His slight smile was covered by his shaggy beard, and he shied away from his co-workers applause and shouts of praise.
He was just doing his job, he said yesterday. Yes, agreed Toledo Postmaster Robert Lewis, and it was a job well done.
"You guys go out around everyday. You're out there, you're serving customers," Mr. Lewis told the room full of letter carriers. "A lot of times people take you for granted - until the mail's not there, the check's not there, or in some cases, people need help."