NC mail carrier saves man’s life after heart attack on Christmas Eve

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CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — It was a Christmas Eve a Cary postman will never forget. 

Mail carrier Chris Petersen and two of his customers Joanie and Jason Peterson came together in a crisis and saved a man’s life. 

The trio shares more than just, coincidentally, the same sounding last name. They now share a lasting bond. 

Chris Petersen has spent the past 32 Christmas Eves delivering the mail. He was hoping to get off early to spend time with his family.

“I believe there was a reason that I was running late that day,” said Petersen. “I was meant to be there at that time.”

Petersen had just finished delivering the mail to Mike and Pam Hodgin’s house in Cary.

“I was walking away from their house when his wife opened the door, called out, ‘somebody please help me. I believe my husband is having a heart attack!’” Petersen recalled.

Petersen did not hesitate — he ran up the stairs and into the house. Two of the neighbors from across the street, Joanie and Jason Peterson, were right behind him.

“We found him laid on his back on the kitchen floor,” Petersen said. “He had no pulse. So at that time I instantly began chest compressions.”

Joanie Peterson called 911 and helped keep Pam Hodgin calm.

“She kept calling for her husband and we were seeing nothing,” Joanie Peterson said.

After about two minutes of compressions, Mike Hodgin took a deep breath and opened his eyes.

“It was just a feeling of relief,” said Petersen.

As soon as their neighbor was stable and paramedics had taken him to the hospital, Chris Petersen went right back to work, delivering the mail. 

“Pam the wife was like ‘it’s like Superman’, but I’m like ‘he was like a cowboy to me just riding off into the sunset’ because he just calmly walks away and does his job,” said Joanie Peterson.

After that, Joanie and Jason Peterson watched in amazement as paramedics helped clean up the Hodgin’s kitchen.

“He’s covering it up with tinfoil and putting it in the fridge and wiping down the counters and that’s the part where I was like ‘our mail carrier just saved a life and the rescue guys are cleaning up the kitchen’,” said Joanie Peterson. “People talk about people not caring, but we apparently have a community that cares.”

Chris Petersen wants to encourage everyone to add CPR training to their list of New Year’s resolutions.

“You know if we hadn’t been there, if Chris hadn’t taken the quick action that he did, Mike wouldn’t be here today,” said Jason Peterson.

“That’s what all the doctors have said,” Joanie Peterson added. 

Hodgin is still in the hospital but is expected to come home on New Year’s Eve. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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