Beloved NYC mailman delivered for 62 years; 7 On Your Side fights for his death benefits

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Thursday, December 16, 2021
Beloved NYC mailman delivered for 62 years; 7 On Your Side fights for his death benefits
7 On Your Side fought for death benefits for a beloved NYC mailman.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Anthony Puccio Jr. may not be a name you know, but to residents at the Wagner Houses in Harlem, he's revered.

For the past six decades, Puccio's been a friend, confidant, and letter carrier to nearly 1,000 residents.

"He was more than our mailman to us," resident Julia Evans said. "He was our family."

He died last January, but the tear-stained tenants are not happy with how the government has treated his family after his death. So they turned to 7 On Your Side.

"He was family," resident Elizabeth Patrick said. "I love him."

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Love, dedicated and caring are the three words residents of the Wagner Houses use most to describe their beloved mailman. For 62 years, he delivered the mail and so much more.

"I know people that he has fed, that he helped them pay their rent," resident Tiffani Johnson said.

Five years ago, the legendary letter carrier was profiled by his union.

"You want respect, you give respect," he said on the video. "Am I right, my man?"

He retired last January, but two weeks later, he was being laid to rest.

"It really wrenches at my heart," Antonio Puccio III said.

But his son's anguish quickly turned to anger.

"They're horrible," he said. "I have to say it. They don't know my father. They don't care. He's just a number."

He says the U.S. Office of Personnel Management still hasn't paid out benefits to the family-- a sizeable annuity earned from six decades of work and 4,200 hours of unused sick pay -- nearly a year after Puccio's death.

"That's equivalent of not taking a day off in 40 years," he said.

The OPM claimed to have lost the paperwork two times, and calling hasn't yielded productive results.

"You're either on hold for an hour, I would get through after an hour and talk to someone and then get disconnected," Puccio III said.

Adding insult to injury, it all came after the U.S. Postal Service re-named its Letter Carrier Academy in Puccio's name.

"I mean, this is how you treat him?" Puccio III said. "It's not right."

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The pair had gotten nowhere with recouping the $1,000 each they say they were owed until they called Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side.

The family and all Tony's fans asked us to plead for the release of his hard earned money, and within weeks, the office apologized and finally delivered.

"The money that was due to me was posted on my dad's birthday," Puccio III said.

It was a fitting tribute for the mailman called "The Goat" by his customers.



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