Dayton postal worker honored in Washington

Dayton postal worker Donte Cotton/NACL

WASHINGTON (WDTN) — A Dayton postal worker is being honored in Washington D.C. for an act of heroism.

Donte Cotton crawled through broken glass to save a baby girl from a car that had flipped onto its roof.

Cotton will receive the Central Hero Award at the 2017 Heroes Award.

The awards, which honor postal workers for acts of goodwill, bravery and heroism, are held by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Cotton’s act of heroism happened on April 5, 2016. He rushed to the aid of a woman who had crashed into a utility pole near a branch of the Dayton Post Office.

When Cotton went to see what happened, “We were greeted by a vehicle that was lying on its roof,” Cotton said.

The woman was able to get out of the car, but her baby was still in the backseat.

“I realized there was a toddler in the rear of the vehicle moving around,” Cotton said. “My main concern was the little kid. My fatherly instincts kicked in.”

While Cotton’s supervisor called 911, Cotton approached the vehicle from the passenger side and crawled through broken glass to reach the child.

“I lay on my back to proceed to get the girl out of the broken window,” Cotton said.

Cotton returned the child to her mother, then waited with them until medics arrived.

The woman and her child were treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

“I wouldn’t call myself a hero,” the second-year letter carrier said.

The Heroes of the Year judges thought differently and marveled at how the carrier put himself in danger to help. “The car probably had fluids leaking,” they said. “He was going into an unknown situation to rescue a baby.” That’s why they named Cotton NALC’s 2017 Central Region Hero.

While Cotton said it “made me feel great to be recognized for a good deed,” he noted that he was “not looking for praise.”

Cotton is one of eight letter carriers being honored in Washington.

National Hero of the Year:
Matthew Lamb of Johnstown, PA, repelled by heat and smoke from a burning house before going to the backyard and telling the youngster to jump out the window into his waiting arms.

Eastern Hero of the Year:
Clinton Parker of Waterbury, CT, a 30-year Army veteran named Eastern Hero of the Year, counseled a fellow veteran suffering from PTSD to yield his weapon, which he’d already fired.

Branch Service Award
Letter carriers in Springfield, IL, who held a fundraiser that enabled the family of a 12-year-old girl with muscular dystrophy to buy a van that could accommodate the girl’s wheelchair.

Central Hero Award
Donte Cotton of Dayton, OH, who crawled through broken glass to extricate a baby girl from a car that had flipped onto its roof.

Western Hero Award
Daniel Ochoa of Garden Grove, CA, a Marine Reservist, saw smoke coming from a customer’s house, spotted a propane tank near the fire, and doused the flames.

Unit Citation Recipients
Grand Rapids, MI, letter carriers James McKay and Evelyn Woodward, who provided CPR to a postal clerk who had fallen face-first on the lobby floor, was convulsing in a pool of blood and then stopped breathing.

Carrier Alert Award
Holly Allen of Charleston, WV, recipient of the Carrier Alert Award, was concerned when he hadn’t seen an elderly customer for a while, investigated and eventually found the woman injured on her kitchen floor, even as natural gas was spreading through the house.

Humanitarian of the Year
Deb Ochetti of Minneapolis, who donated bone marrow to save the life of a stranger she had never met.

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