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Courageous countdown: No. 10

Waukon, IA, Rural Carrier Kari Kerndt-Hammel

Link is looking back at the year in “Heroes’ Corner” with a countdown of the 10 most-viewed articles.

Coming in at No. 10 is “Tractor factor,” the story of Kari Kerndt-Hammel.

The rural carrier was delivering mail at a farm in Waukon, IA, when she saw a driverless tractor crash through a fence before coming to a stop in a barnyard.

Kerndt-Hammel rushed to locate farmer Don McGraw, whom she found badly hurt in a shed, where the tractor had run over him while he was repairing it.

The Postal Service employee immediately called the local sheriff to request medical assistance, alerted McGraw’s family and comforted him until emergency responders arrived.

“We have said that Don has guardian angels,” a member of his family later told USPS. “On that day, that guardian angel was Kari.”

If you know of heroic colleagues like Kerndt-Hammel, the Postal Service wants to know about them, too.

Employees recognized through the Postmaster General Heroes’ Program must be nominated for the award. Corporate Communications reviews nominations for accuracy, then sends them to the Postal Inspection Service and the Office of Inspector General for approval.

Following approval, each nominee receives a commendation letter from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Honorees are also featured in Link’s “Heroes’ Corner” column.

To nominate an employee, complete PS Form 400, Corporate Communications PMG Hero Nomination, and email it to

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