By Karl Terry: PNT Staff Writer
A Portales rural letter carrier is being credited with helping to save the life of an elderly Roosevelt County woman two weeks ago after she fell at home.
According to co-workers at the Portales post office, Charles “Chuck” Jones was the first to notice something was wrong at the home of 91-year-old Linda J. Robinson, who lives west of Portales. His alertness resulted in getting emergency medical care to Robinson in time to save her life.
“My carrier noticed her mail had stacked up,” Portales Postmaster Lea Anne Johnson said.
Johnson said carriers are taught to watch for mail accumulating in a mailbox as a courtesy. She said when Jones didn’t get a response when he knocked on Robinson’s door, he called his office, where personnel alerted sheriff’s deputies to make a welfare check on the senior citizen.
According to Jones, Robinson apparently fell, hitting her head and breaking a hip. He said when he knocked on her door on May 6, she was likely unconscious according to what emergency personnel told him.
“I noticed she hadn’t picked up her mail for two days, and she was always real good about picking it up,” Jones said.
He had left a package inside the door to Robinson’s mud room the day before, he said. When he checked, it was still there, and that’s when he became concerned.
“I knocked on the main door but nobody answered,” Jones said. “The dog was barking, and I could see through the window that he had torn some things up.”
That’s when Jones said he contacted his office.
After emergency personnel arrived and gained entry to the house, Jones said Robinson regained some consciousness, according to what he was told, but her condition was grave.
She was transported to Convenant Medical Center in Lubbock, where she underwent hip surgery and started therapy the following week.
Because her hearing isn’t good, Robinson was unable to speak with the PNT, but neighbor Ama McDermid said the surgery was successful and Robinson was doing as well as could be expected for her age.
McDermid said she and her husband, Rod, check on Robinson when they can, and she had looked in on her the Thursday night prior to being found on that Saturday. She said Robinson has lived there for 35 years.
“She just doesn’t have any family,” McDermid said of Robinson. “She’s kind of a loner.”
McDermid said Robinson is a native of Australia and retired as a professor at Eastern New Mexico University, where she taught English and literature for almost a quarter century.
McDermid said Robinson outlived her husband and most of her ENMU colleagues but remained independent.
“Hopefully she will be OK,” McDermid said.
Jones, originally from Amarillo, has lived in Portales for the last nine years. He came to the area when he was in the Air Force stationed at Cannon Air Force Base. He lived in Clovis after getting out of the service, and moved to Portales when the rural route he carries now came open.
Jones says he has heard lots of stories about postal carriers finding incapacitated people, but he was never in that situation himself until earlier this month.
“It made me feel so good,” Jones said. “I was just so happy she was still alive.”