In a role reversal, family delivers gratitude to mail carrier

January 1, 2019
Mike (left) and Chris now have lives stamped together.

Chris Petersen is a letter carrier with more than 30 years on the job. Most days he drops off letters, bills and various mail to the Hodgin home. On New Year’s Day, he knocked on the door to pick something up: a tearful hug and warm thank you from the homeowner.

Mike Hodgin was in the kitchen, just finishing up the holiday treats for Christmas Eve. It was 4:15 p.m. or so, and relatives were slated to arrive at his Pamlico Drive home in Cary soon.

Mike’s wife Pam just stepped outside, to do some last minute tidying up before the guests arrived. She heard something in the kitchen, and figured her husband had just trip over a chair. But when she walked inside, she found Mike on the floor, gasping for breath.

“I remember being dizzy,” Mike said a week later sitting on his sofa. “I didn’t even have time to sit down.”

That’s the last he remembers until he came to with his mailman pounding on his chest.

“My chest is still a little sore,” he said through a smile.

Mike suffered a heart attack.

“I was about halfway through the street,” explained Chris Petersen, the neighborhood’s letter carrier.

“The woman of the house came, opened the door and called out, ‘Somebody help me; I think my husband is having a heart attack!’”

Petersen dropped the mail and delivered CPR to the unconscious man. Mike Hodgin started breathing again just minutes before the ambulance arrived.

“We’re just so blessed,” Pam Hodgin reflected on the day. “Oh, he’s our hero, what can you say, he is our hero.” Pam sat in the living room looking over her left shoulder Tuesday, in the kitchen she can see Mike and Chris sitting on bar stools,. She smiles and says “New Year, New Friends.”

Petersen believes everything happens for a reason. He was running late on his route on Christmas Eve.

“If he hadn’t been running late, I wouldn’t be here,” Mike Hogdin said.

Mike says he plans to make the most of his second chance at life, and he already has a plan in place. “Try and enjoy life, try and enjoy watching my grandsons grow up, just try to be a better person.”

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