NewsLEX 18 Investigates


Blind Vietnam War veteran fights for mail delivery after dog attack service halted

Posted at 6:50 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 20:23:32-05

HARRISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Tim Helvey has a daily routine.

He drives about a mile down the road in Cynthiana, picks up the mail for his Uncle Paul, and brings it to Paul's door.

"Hey, Uncle Paul!" Tim exclaimed as he knocked on Paul's door. "Here's your mail, buddy!"

Paul can't drive himself to the post office. The Vietnam War vet is considered catastrophically disabled.

"I have Leukemia," Paul Helvey said. "I have real bad diabetes. I have neuropathy. I'm legally blind. I'm pretty messed up."

Tim has made this routine a priority because Uncle Paul gets his medicine through the mail.

"They're medicines he has to have to live, and if he doesn't get them, he'll die," Tim said.

That life and death reality was underscored when Tim was out of town, and Paul ran out of insulin. It was waiting at the post office, but Paul couldn't get there. His blood sugar levels became dangerously high.

"I just felt like I was dying to be honest with you," Paul said.

Scared it could happen again, Tim has put traveling on hold.

While he's happy to help his uncle, he said he shouldn't have to.

But USPS refuses to deliver his mail.

We reached out to the postal service to ask why. They responded and said there have been "repeated issues with dogs" in Paul's mobile home park and there was "a serious dog attack on one of our carriers".

"It happened right here at this telephone pole," neighbor Jerry Gill said.

Gill recounted what happened back in June 2021.

"She dropped her mail and threw her hands up," Gill said about the USPS carrier. "The dog got her on the hand. He just reared up on his back feet and lunged right at her."

Harrison County Judge-Executive, Alex Barnett, said the dog was removed right after it happened.

The dog's owner also moved away.

After the vicious attack, the mobile home park's property manager said no one can have dogs weighing more than 20 pounds.

The people who did have dogs of that size either moved away or got rid of their dogs.

Despite these changes, the mail still isn't being delivered eight months after the serious attack.

"We've done nothing wrong," Paul said. "We're being punished for something somebody else has done."

As a solution to keep carriers safe, USPS said it plans to install a community mailbox unit (CBU) on the street.

USPS apologized for the delay and said they anticipate it will be installed by early April.

Tim doesn't believe they will follow through, but he hopes he's proven wrong.

USPS' full statement is below:

The safety of our employees is a primary focus for the Postal Service. After repeated issues with dogs and a serious dog attack on one of our carriers in the Delta Court area, the decision was made to establish a community mailbox unit (CBU) for mail delivery. This centralized delivery method will help ensure safe working conditions for our employees. A CBU also provides the added security of a locked mail receptacle for customers. We apologize for the delay in the installation of the CBU. The Cynthiana Post Office is working to coordinate the necessary contractors and equipment for this project. We anticipate the CBU will be in place by early April.