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Friends, strangers rally to help postal carrier

Friends, strangers rally to help postal carrier

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Fred Lewis

Almost anyone who knows Fred Lewis refers to him as their best friend.

And even those who don’t know Lewis feel a friendship for the rural U.S. Postal carrier.

Lewis, 46, suffered a devastating stroke a few weeks ago, leaving him paralyzed on his left side and unable to speak, said Rick Gabree, a co-worker and friend.

Gabree updated Lewis’ status Friday, indicating he is making progress with his motor skills and his speech is also slowly progressing.

A crowd-sourcing page started earlier this week shows the concern and compassion for Lewis, both from those who know Lewis and those touched by his story. More than $12,000 has been raised in just a few days.

Lewis, the father of a 7-year-old daughter, was at a small birthday party on Aug. 20 when he suffered the stroke. He was taken to Lake Norman Regional and then to Atrium Health in Charlotte, where he is still being treated, Gabree said.

“We were all devastated,” Gabree said. “Fred is loved by everybody.”

With mounting medical expenses as well as daily expenses, Gabree said, those who call Lewis a friend wanted to help in any way possible, and earlier this week, they started the Go Fund Me page.

“Every little bit helps,” Gabree said, and from $10 to more than $100 donations, those little bits are adding up.

Gabree said he’s not surprised with the outpouring for the mailman who always has a smile on his face.

“He has the most infectious smile and the most amazing soul,” he said.

Still, the support the page has received is heartwarming, Gabree said.

“People really want to help,” he said. “This really shows people have a lot of character.”

Several of those making donations on the Go Fund Me page commented on Lewis’ happy demeanor, describing him as a man who always smiled and waved as he delivered mail and packages.

In addition to making donations to Lewis, many are also offering prayers and well-wishes for his recovery, something Gabree hopes for as well.

He said this effort to help Lewis is a small way to pay back a man who is a vital part of the community and one who would be at the forefront if someone else needed his assistance. “If I needed something, no matter what it was, he’d drop everything to help,” he said.

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