Deputies rebuild New York vet’s smashed mailbox

PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — On July 8, 79-year-old Donald—a Vietnam veteran living in Rochester—woke up to his mailbox completely smashed, presumably by a car. Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Reale responded to the scene. 

“It touched my heart. When I got there,” Reale said, “his mailbox was down and he came out in tears.”

Reale says Donald had no idea how he was going to fix the mailbox, or how he was going to pay for it. Deputy Todd Thurston was also there. “The gentleman was going through some hardships, some recent losses,” he said. “So, it touched me in the same way.”

Reale and Thurston decided to help the veteran rebuild and pay for his mailbox. While shopping for supplies at the hardware store, some of the staff members knew the deputies and decided to provide the needed items for free. “It was probably well over $100,” Reale said.

Deputies provided the muscle and elbow grease. “We just know how to do it,” Thurston said. It took about two hours to accomplish. “A sledgehammer, some digging, and that was about it.”

“They just went above and beyond,” said Capt. Scott Alberti, who works with the duo. “All our folks have great hearts, and this is probably just one glimpse of what they do on a daily basis,” Alberti said. Helping Donald is a prime example of law enforcement extending a hand out into the community to further strengthen relations. 

“It’s something we try to do,” Thurston said. “We enjoy trying to bridge that gap between us and the community and make things better.”

The sheriff’s office says the person who struck the mailbox has since come forward to accept responsibility.

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