Local hero mailman honored in Washington after rescue

    This home went up in flames in November, destroying a home that a Johnstown couple had lived in for decades. (WJAC / File)

    JOHNSTOWN — It was a snowy day in November when the unthinkable happened to Robert and Helen Rucosky: Their home of nearly 70 years was up in flames.

    And Helen was inside. Her grandson was, too.

    Robert was driving nearby.

    "They were slowing traffic to one way to get into the city and they saw it was me and I asked them, 'What's going on?'" Robert said. "They said, 'Your house is on fire.'"

    Meanwhile, Matthew Lamb was going about his daily routine, delivering the mail on a quiet street in Ferndale.

    He smelled smoke when he delivered the mail, but didn't think anything of it.

    But then he saw the flames come from the back of the house.

    He ran and got Helen Rucosky out of the house and then called 911 before realizing her grandson was also inside.

    Without delay, he ran to the back of the house to see Adam Rucosky in the window, 12 feet off the ground.

    Rucosky jumped, landing in Lamb's arms.

    The house meant everything to the Rucosky's.

    "It was an awful feeling, though," Robert Rucoksy said. "When you live there all your life. Raised our five kids there. And, you know, it wasn't just a house... it was a home."

    It was a devastating loss that Rucoksy never expected to face. But it was made more bearable because the most important things inside were saved.

    "You know, I felt bad about that house and that," Rucosky said. "But, you know, you can't replace your wife and grandson."

    After the fire, Rucosky would learn that Lamb was the one who saved his wife and grandson.

    "If it wouldn't have been for him, I probably would've lost her," Rucosky said.

    Lamb was honored during by the National Association of Letter Carriers on Wednesday, along with a couple other mail carriers who did things beyond their job descriptions.

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