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Mail carrier credited with helping save man's life

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GREENFIELD — On a normal day, the Curry family wouldn’t receive a certified letter that required a signature.

Their mail carrier, Paul Rogers, would just drop the day’s mail in the box at the end of the drive.

On a normal day, Rogers, 60, of Greenfield, wouldn’t even see the Curry family before heading to the next house on his route.

But Oct. 26 was anything but normal.

The title to the Currys’ daughter’s car had come in the mail, and so, Rogers approached the house to find someone to sign for it.

He found Chuck Curry, lying face down near the door.

Curry was conscious and able to speak clearly when Rogers came over. At first, the mailman thought the homeowner had just taken a minor tumble.

But Curry was actually in serious trouble. Curry, who was 53 at the time, was suffering from a massive brain hemorrhage.

When Curry tried to stand and couldn’t maintain his balance, Rogers knew something was wrong.

He went back to his mail truck, grabbed his cell phone and dialed 911.

Curry would spend the next 75 days in the hospital, undergoing two brain surgeries, before doctors declared his condition had finally stabilized.

This week, Curry returned home. And while he’s still a little unsteady on his feet, he makes progress every day.

Thursday, the man Curry’s family credits with saving his life walked the family’s mail to the front door. He was greeted with a handshake and heartfelt word of thanks.

Rogers, 60, of Greenfield, told Curry’s wife, Cheryl, that he just did what he hoped anyone would do.

“Had I not had that certified letter, I might not have seen him,” said Rogers, pointing out that a wishing well in the front yard would have blocked his view. “I think it was right place, right time, more than anything else.”

Cheryl, Curry’s wife of 31 years, sees Roger’s act of kindness a little differently.

“I told Paul we’re forever in his debt,” she said. “He would have died.”

Curry doesn’t remember much about the day he suffered his stroke.

“I just kind of felt real bad, kind of fell into the grass,” Curry said.

The news came as a shock to Curry’s family members, none of whom were home when Curry was stricken.

“Never been sick a day in his life,” his wife said. “We had lunch with him that day, and he was fine.”

A number of things that happened after Curry’s stroke made the family certain its patriarch has a very active guardian angel.

First, there was that certified letter. The family rarely receives anything that requires a signature, Curry said.

Then, the two EMTs who rushed to the house turned out to be friends of the family. Cheryl used to babysit one of them when he was young, and the other went to school with the Currys’ oldest daughter.

The coincidences kept coming, Cheryl said.

After Curry was in the hospital, doctors made an unsettling discovery.

While inserting a feeding tube, they found a suspicious lump in Curry’s throat. Tests would later reveal it was pre-cancerous.

While that might sound like bad news, had Curry not been in the hospital for the stroke, it’s unlikely the lump would have been found before it developed into cancer, Cheryl said.

“I tell you; he is so blessed,” she said.

When Curry was first taken off his ventilator, his throat was so sore, he couldn’t speak.

Instead, he started signing.

Curry, a teacher at Lincoln College of Technology, used to work at a car dealership near the Indiana School for the Deaf. Some of the dealership’s customers were deaf, and it just so happened Curry had picked up the sign language for a few pleasantries.

“It’s amazing how far that’ll go,” said Curry, who also knew the alphabet and requested some ice through sign language.

The family celebrated two birthdays in the hospital, both Curry’s and his wife’s. And while the venue wasn’t ideal, there certainly was celebrating to be done.

Cheryl’s birthday came first. It was Oct. 31, just five days after Curry was admitted.

Curry had been sedated much of the time, but he was just starting to come around.

“He opened his eyes on my 50th birthday,” Cheryl said. “Best birthday present I ever got.”

Curry’s birthday, Dec. 27, was also one of firsts.

Doctors removed Curry’s feeding tube, and he enjoyed his first meal since entering the hospital.

The meatloaf was delicious.

“Anything would have tasted good, I think,” Curry said.

The hospital even brought up a piece of cake to celebrate.

Curry still has a long road ahead – doctors estimate it could be a year and a half before he’s fully recovered – but he’s looking forward to a few pit stops along the way. His doctors have already cleared him to go on a 12-day European cruise the family has scheduled for May.

Curry also looks forward to returning to work at the college where he teaches classes in automotive and diesel repair.

Meanwhile, Curry is supported by a loving family and friends who help him rejoice in the small steps –and a mailman he knows is keeping an eye out.

“The good Lord has walked with us every step of the way … from the minute Paul found him,” Cheryl said.

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