Alex Hinojasa, El Paso Times
An elderly woman was rescued recently after two newspaper carriers noticed she had not collected her newspaper for several days.
Lou Anne Fetters and her son, Stephen Hellman, were on their normal delivery route in Northeast El Paso recently when they noticed that Inga Domangue’s Sunday paper was still on her doorstep several days later.
“She had a very specific subscription,” Hellman said. “She only ever wanted the Sunday and Tuesday papers specifically for the store coupons.”
Hellman also knew that Domangue was sometimes awake at the early hour the newspapers were delivered.
He knocked on the door and then called the police when no one answered.
Police soon arrived and found Domangue on the floor.
She told the officers that she had fallen in her living room on Friday and had been on the floor for five days.
“I couldn’t believe I had such a bad fall,” Domangue said. “I broke my hip and I couldn’t get up anymore.”
Fetters said she is reminded of her own mother, Ernestine Haller, when she hears of incidents such as Domangue’s.
“My mother was a very independent woman who liked to live on her own,” Fetters said. “One day while she was at home, she fell and there wasn’t anyone to look after her. Once she was found, her hip was broken, but I was able to take care of her and get her back on her feet.”
Once she was fully recovered, Haller insisted on going back home to live on her own.
A few months later, Haller fell again. This time she was unable to recover.
Fetters and Hellman have since made it part of their jobs as newspaper carriers to watch out for their customers.
“The neighborhood is an old one, so a lot of elderly people live in the area,” Fetters said. “So whenever I start to see a pile of unread papers pile up on porches, I grow worried. I’ll knock on the door, and if no one answers, I go to the neighbor’s house and leave a note, asking them to please check on them.”
Fetters said she also always leaves a number where she can be reached.
“I want to know they are OK,” she said. “Most of the time, it’s nothing. People go on vacation and tend to forget to cancel their subscription. But I’d rather know than not.”