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Newspaper carrier rescues woman in Clifton

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(AP Photo/The Daily Journal, Tiffany Blanchette)
Donna Berns (left) and Karyn Edwards, both of Clifton, reunite June 6 at Miller Rehabilitation Center in Kankakee. Berns, who suffered a broken hip when she fell in her kitchen, said she might have been stuck inside her home for 12 hours had Edwards, her newspaper carrier, not arrived and called for help.

CLIFTON (AP) – The Daily Journal definitely doesn’t promise lifesaving services with each subscription, but it might have felt that way to Donna Berns, of Clifton.

In the classic live-alone scenario, Berns fell and couldn’t get up after an accident in her kitchen last week. Her daughter, Dee Anna Hillebrand, of Herscher, insisted that she have an emergency alarm system for just this sort of circumstance. But that device was out of her reach on a counter.

“She was just lucky that it was a warm day, and she had the front door open,” Hillebrand said. “And she was lucky that Karyn was listening.”

The Daily Journal carrier, Karyn Edwards, has been on the job since 2008. Berns was a fairly new customer on her route, but they were acquainted.

“I knew she would be coming, so when I heard her, I yelled,” Berns said.

“I could hear her through the screen door,” Edwards said. “I went in and she said to press the button [on her emergency device]. She wanted to get up, but I knew that could be a problem. So, I stayed with her on the floor until help came.”

Berns was diagnosed with a broken hip. She underwent surgery at Riverside Medical Center and, in recent days, has been receiving live-in physical therapy at the Miller Rehabilitation Center.

“She might have laid there for another 7 hours. Or she might have been there overnight,” Hillebrand said. “We’re just so glad that Karyn was there so quick.

“I deliver about 250 papers, in Ashkum and Clifton,” Edwards said, “and I usually do Ashkum first. I don’t know why I decided to do Clifton first that day. But I’m glad I did.”

District sales manager Larry Campbell noted that carriers are trained to check on customers if newspapers aren’t being picked up from the porch, but added that this incident was a special case.

“Yes, it’s good to get your route done quickly, but paying attention to the customers is always important,” he said. “Karyn is one of those people who makes time to get to know her customers. And we’re all glad that she wasn’t in too big a hurry to hear Mrs. Berns and check in on her.”

“I know people probably only call to complain, but I have to say Karyn is just awesome,” Hillebrand said.

“And I should tell you: I really loved getting the paper [even before this incident],” Berns said. “I like the stories, and I especially like to see the ads.”

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