Veterans, Federal Employees, Heroes

The winter of 2014: three friends were enjoying their time together on their annual ice fishing trip in Vermont.

The three men pictured (Marty Sullivan, left, Matt Puza, center and Raymond Sills, right) enjoyed many trips over the years together.

All three men were employed at the Springfield, Massachusetts NDC: Matt and Marty as mail handlers and Ray in the maintenance department.

On February 15th 2014, during the height of the snow season in Northern New England and with extreme weather expected for that day, the three set out with enthusiasm and excitement, not knowing that their fishing trip would turn into a life or death situation

Marty experienced a seizure and became unconscious while out in the middle of the lake. During Marty’s medical emergency, Matt and Ray attempted CPR and both attempted to carry him to the shore to meet emergency personnel. At first they found it impossible to carry Matt took it upon himself to use superhuman strength and dragged Marty himself over 130 yards in more than two feet of snow.

Marty, was then transported to a nearby hospital and made a full recovery, thanks to the heroic action taken by his friend.

Early the next morning on February 16th, Ray was heroic in his own way, when Matt experienced a severe stroke. Doctors later detailed that the actions that Matt took the day before caused a tear in the right side carotid artery causing an occlusion. Ray was there every step of the way in supporting his friend and if not for Ray, an already difficult situation would have been a lot worse.

The extraordinary heroism displayed those two days, will have ever lasting effects for many family members and friends. Matt, Ray and Marty remain close friends to this day. However, Matt has not been able to return to work for the Postal Service. He is supported by many friends and family, including his wife Rachel and two kids.

Thank you, Matt and Ray for your service, dedication and your heroism.

By Ryan T. Cadieux
Purchasing & SM Specialist
Contracting Officer

USPS Northeast Area Office, Windsor CT