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Postal worker’s decisive action praised, earns hero nomination
Post office 2-7
Shown on the job at the Escalon Post Office on Coley Avenue, clerk Juan Carlos Aviles has been nominated for a Postmaster General Hero Award for his actions in helping save an elderly customer’s life. Photo Courtesy Of Escalon Post Office

It wasn’t your typical day at work for Juan Carlos Aviles.

While the clerk at the Escalon Post Office usually aids customers with sending out packages or buying stamps, on this particular day, he likely saved a life.

Aviles has been nominated for a ‘Hero’ award through his Postmaster Ken Crandal and Supervisor Jackie Draper for his actions on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

“Juan Carlos was working the window in the lobby at 11:50 a.m. along with regular clerk Joe Berchtold. Juan’s customer, an 86-year-old male, suddenly clutched the counter in the middle of the transaction with little or no notice,” Postmaster Crandal wrote in the nomination letter to the United States Postal Service’s local district.

Seeing the change, Aviles was able to grab the customer and hold him up to keep him from falling. Not knowing if he had a seizure of some kind, Berchtold secured a chair and brought it in to the lobby for the customer to sit down. Crandal was notified and said he called Escalon Community Ambulance to request a welfare check.

“I updated it to a 9-1-1 call,” Crandal told The Times, after he was told the man appeared to lose consciousness and stop breathing while seated in the chair.

It was then that Aviles took decisive action.

“It just happened so fast,” he admitted. “I had never been in that situation before.”

Aviles started chest compression CPR, which successfully revived the elderly customer.

“He started breathing and it was like, wow,” Aviles admitted of reviving the man.

“I didn’t panic then; I just felt like I had to act in the moment.”

He admitted to feeling some panic later, but said he was glad to have been able to help.

“It was something I never thought would happen in my life,” Aviles said of the opportunity to be a lifesaver while on the job.

He has worked for the Escalon Post Office for over five years.

Escalon Police, Escalon Community Ambulance and Escalon Fire all had crews respond to the scene as well, assisting after the man was revived by Aviles.

“I think Juan Carlos may have saved the man’s life,” added Crandal in his nomination. “We don’t know what kind of episode/seizure he had. He hadn’t had one before, according to him, and no history of this kind of event.”

After being assessed and treated at the scene, the man refused transport to the hospital; he was instead given a ride home by ambulance personnel. Crandal said the man lives in Escalon with his son and daughter-in-law.

Local postal officials are waiting to hear if Aviles will get the formal ‘hero’ recognition, but he is already a hero to the customer, the customer’s family and his co-workers.

“The entire episode was captured on video on our lobby camera and is very compelling,” said Crandal.