Miracle on Railroad Street revisited - the quest to say thanks

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 06:04 PM.

Alvelo learned she had survived being run over by a train at age 12 from her mother. It didn’t strike her until she grew older and had a daughter of her own how close she had come to death and how she needed to thank the man responsible for saving her.

“I kept thinking how lucky I was. It didn’t really dawn on me until I got older that ‘Wow, you went under a train and you could have died,’” Alvelo said. “It really doesn’t hit you when you’re that young. When you get older, you’re kind of like ‘Man.’ I’ve frozen up over sillier things. I could not believe him standing there and not freezing up. That’s why it consumed me wanting to say thank you so much.”

She started her search for Dunn about a decade ago with little more than the story relayed to her by her mother and a newspaper clipping.

“I’ve been looking for him since I was about 23 years old because I started having a desire to meet this person that basically saved my life,” said Alvelo, now married at age 33 with four children. “Because of his quick thinking and the Lord having him at work when he wasn’t supposed to be, it all came together, and for me it meant so much to be able to say to him ‘thank you for saving my life and thank you for your quick thinking. Because of you I was able to be alive and get married and have children all because of somebody’s quick thinking.’ To me, that is my hero.”

But, Alvelo’s searches kept coming up empty. On Feb. 23, she contacted the Havelock News, explaining the story that was included in the newspaper’s special 50th anniversary of Havelock section and asking for help in finding Dunn. The paper searched phone books and social media websites, and contacted officials with Norfolk Southern. The railroad company obtained a phone number and the newspaper called Dunn, who now at age 67 had retired and was living in Vanceboro.

The Reunion

Dunn picked up the phone Friday night and soon a woman’s voice was on the other end.

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