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Waterloo mail carrier nationally recognized for heroic act

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Waterloo Mail Carrier Austin Rentz helped a woman put out a fire in her home, and received national recognition from the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Rentz was out on his delivery route when he heard an alarm come from a home. Rentz contacted his union president when he heard the alarm and returned to the area of the home. Upon arrival he saw a woman run out of the home with black smoke close behind. The woman forgot she was cooking, and a small kitchen fire started.

“I aired out the home, and waited until the authorities arrived,” Rentz said. “It turns out the woman was my postmaster’s mother.”

Rentz was recognized for this act by the NALC and was flown out to Washington, D.C. for four days. He spoke with politicians and visited historic sites during his trip.

Rentz received the National Hero of The Year Award 2019 and joined other mail carriers who went above and beyond for their community. The award ceremony started in 1974 to pay tribute to outstanding letter carriers.

In Rentz’s acceptance speech he says, “I don’t look at myself as a hero, I did something anyone would do.” He also went on to explain the mail carriers have strong ties to the community they serve.

“There’s stuff that goes on that you don’t hear. We check in on people, if the little old lady hasn’t checked her mail in two days we try and figure out what’s going on,” says Rentz. “We contact people, see if the people can do a wellness check make sure they’re okay.”

Vinny Lowerre

Producer & Multimedia Journalist

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