PORTLAND, Ore. — Terri Palmer has been working for the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years. In that time, she's delivered countless letters and has come to the rescue of now two of her customers.
"These are my family," Palmer said of the neighbors on her route. "I'm there everyday. I've done this job for years. They look out for me, they make me cookies. They're my moms, my dads, my sisters, my brothers. I'm their family. We take care of each other. It's a community."
She considers it part of her job to check on those neighbors, especially seniors living alone.
That's why she immediately started to worry when she noticed mail piling up at one of the homes on her route.
When she went to knock on the door, she heard a cry for help.
"She said, 'mail lady, mail lady!' And I said, 'I'm here. I called 911. We're gonna get you help. Everything's going to be okay,'" Palmer recounted.
Palmer enlisted the help of some neighbors who knew the house well enough to get inside and take a look.
They found the woman down on the floor, unable to get up. Her dog wouldn't leave her side.
Paramedics soon got there to carry the woman out and get her to the hospital.
Neighbor Alex Clark is now caring for her dog. He shudders to think what could have happened if Palmer hadn't been so dedicated to her job.
"Postal carriers aren't recognized as providing as much to the community as they actually provide," Clark said. "Terry's part of the community. We wouldn't have known if Terry hadn't had found her."
Neighbors think the woman must have been on the floor for several hours, possibly more than a day.
She is in the hospital recovering. KGW has reached out for comment or an update on her condition, but so far we've not heard back.