Paperboy rescues woman in her home

Published 9:10 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Albert Lea Tribune paperboy is being commended for helping an 82-year-old woman who was suffering from congestive heart failure.

The telephones were not working at the home of Helen Sydnes on the morning of Jan. 4. She couldn’t call family members or a medic alert system. She posted a note on the door that read, “I need help.”

Twelve-year-old Connor Larson was delivering the Sunday paper to homes on First Avenue when he saw the note. He stepped inside the house, and Helen was in the bedroom.

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Connor didn’t go into the room, but the door was ajar. He asked her if she was OK, and she said she needed help but her phones were out of service.

He grabbed his cell phone and called his grandma Mary Larson, who was driving a van with his newspapers in it. She came inside the house. Meanwhile, Helen gave Connor the number for her son, Richard Sydnes, and Connor called him.

Mary waited with Helen while Connor delivered the remain few papers to homes on First Avenue. Connor came back to the house.

Richard lives on the north side of Albert Lea. He had called his sister and her husband, Vickie and Jerry Paulson, who live on the northwest corner of the city. They arrived at Helen’s house just before Richard did.

During all this, Connor’s mother, Christine Thofson, wondered where he was. Connor called her and explained. Helen’s house is behind where Connor’s family lives on Lincoln Avenue, so he was close to home.

When he arrived home, he told the story to his father, Jessy Kelly. His father at first was shocked to hear it and then commended his son.

“I basically told him I was very proud of him,” Kelly said.

Helen Sydnes, who turns 83 next month and is a former Wilson & Co. meatpacking plant worker, went to Albert Lea Medical Center for three days. She is fine now, Richard said. He said she had pneumonia in addition to congestive heart failure. No surgery was needed.

“Doctors had to get rid of fluid around her heart,” he said.

He said his family is thankful to the paperboy for spotting the note and taking the right steps.

“It’s quite a deal for a 12-year-old,” Richard said.

Connor has had the paper route since October and said he likes having a role in his neighborhood.

“A lot of people know me, and I’m there to help,” he said.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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