United Parcel Service driver Robbie Belew was recognized Wednesday by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department as a “Hometown Hero” for his quick action in alerting authorities about a woman and child who were in danger at a Robertsville area home in December.
The award was presented by Sheriff Steve Pelton. Members of the Franklin County S.W.A.T. Team and command staff, as well as deputies, investigators and Belew’s parents, Sandy and Bruce Belew, also were on hand for the presentation.
“Mr. Belew gave valuable information to deputies and it was discovered that the woman and child were being held against their will,” Pelton said. “Because of Mr. Belew’s quick action, there is no doubt in my mind that this prevented further injury and potentially saved a life that day.”
“Just Another Day”
Belew, who has been with UPS for 13 years, said he realized that the woman was in distress.
During a scheduled package pickup at the home, Belew, of St. Clair, had knocked on the door of the home and a woman came outside to retrieve packages from her vehicle.
“She wrote on the package in front of me ‘call 911,’ ” Belew said. “I knew perfectly well what was going on as far as what I was supposed to do.”
Belew drove to the end of the driveway, out of sight of the home, and called the sheriff’s office. He watched the home to make sure no one left before authorities arrived, per the dispatcher’s instructions.
“It’s just another day,” he said. “The people I work with, I have no doubt that they would have done the same thing.
“I think the real heroes here are the men and women of the sheriff’s department who responded quickly, the dispatcher for keeping me calm on the phone and making sure I could help in any way I could. I don’t think this is anything different than anyone else would do in that situation,” Belew said.
Authorities said the woman and a 3-year-old were being held against their will in the home. A 33-year-old man was arrested and later charged with second-degree domestic assault, sodomy, felonious restraint, unlawful use of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.
And though Belew lives several miles from where the incident occurred, he said he considers the woman his neighbor.
“I can walk from my house to this house in question without setting foot on a stranger’s piece of property, and it’s about four miles,” he said. “I think of anyone in the Lonedell area as my neighbor.”
The lesson, he said, is to pay attention to your surroundings.
“You never know when someone might be in distress,” he said.
The plaque reads:
“Through the authority granted by Sheriff Steve Pelton, Rob Belew is recognized for his selfless courage that directly affected the safety and well-being of residents of Franklin County.
“Whereas, on Dec. 9, 2016, (Robb) Belew was working his regular delivery duties, received a note from a woman in distress. Upon recognizing this note immediately contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
“Whereas, (Robb) Belew gave valuable information to deputies, it was soon discovered this woman and child were being held against their will. Patrol, investigators and S.W.A.T. deputies responded resulting in compliant surrender of the suspect and safety of all victims.
“It is therefore recognized that Robb Belew’s quick actions directly resulted in the safe rescue of the mother and her son. The sheriff’s office is honored to call him a ‘Hometown Hero.’ ”