“You make us proud” – safe drivers celebrate success

Denver, CO, Downtown Station City Carriers

Denver, CO, Downtown Station City Carriers

Denver, CO, Downtown Station recently held a congratulatory celebration for nineteen city carriers who received the National Safety Council’s Million Mile Award. The safe driving award is granted to drivers for having driven the equivalent of one million miles, or 30 years, without a preventable accident. Acting Colorado/Wyoming District Manager Rick Pivovar called the recognition “unprecedented.”

“I’ve never heard of one place with so many safe drivers at once,” said Pivovar. “You are to be commended.”

Denver Postmaster Mark Talbott noted that the accomplishment is especially complimentary of the fact that the carriers deliver in a crowded metropolitan space.

“You make us proud,“ said Talbott.

Driving with safety and pride

Idaho Springs, CO, Rural Carrier Denise Deese

Idaho Springs, CO, Rural Carrier Denise Deese

One million miles is equal to about two trips to the moon and back. Driving that distance over the course of a career is an accomplishment. Doing it accident-free is something special, and a feat achieved by Idaho Springs, CO, Rural Carrier Denise Deese.

For more than three decades, Deese has delivered to more than 500 addresses along the mountain area each day, all without a single at-fault accident. In recognition of her superior driving skills, Postmaster Sandy Weidler awarded Deese with an Expert Driver Certificate issued by the National Safety Council.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Denise, who daily provides excellent customer service, while safeguarding themselves and the neighborhoods and communities they serve,” said Weidler.

Deese said, “I truly enjoy serving my customers and I’m proud to have received this honor.”

Safe driving award of honor

Henderson, NE, Rural Carrier Dick Newton

Henderson, NE, Rural Carrier Dick Newton

The National Safety Council recently recognized 75 drivers across all 12 district within the Western Area with an Award of Honor for their safe driving practices. One of the recipients of the award is Henderson, NE, Rural Carrier Dick Newton.

Newton is a 29-year safe driving veteran. His pristine driving record is a both a badge of honor and a reminder to others that the goal of safe driving is an achievable one.

To qualify for nomination, USPS Western Area employees were required to be full-time drivers whose primary responsibility is to operate a motor vehicle on a regular basis in the performance of their normal duties. Nominees must have driven over 15 years or 100,000 miles without a preventable accident.

Recognition for safe driver

Coffeyville, KS, Postmaster Curtis Knipe with City Carrier Leroy Bakken

Coffeyville, KS, Postmaster Curtis Knipe with City Carrier Leroy Bakken

Coffeyville, KS, City Carrier Leroy Bakken is an experienced driver who recently reached a significant accomplishment.

Bakken received a National Safety Council Million Mile Award, proudly presented by Postmaster Curtis Knipe. The award isn’t easy to achieve. It requires 30 years of driving without an at-fault accident. Receiving the award is visible evidence of a commitment to safe driving.

“We are proud of Leroy’s accomplishment to join a club for the elite carriers and delivery drivers of the USPS. I hope that all employees strive for the same accomplishment,” said Knipe.

2016 Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year

Minneapolis, MN, Tractor-Trailer Operator Gary Stout

Minneapolis, MN, Tractor-Trailer Operator Gary Stout

In August 2015, Minneapolis, MN, Tractor-Trailer Operator Gary Stout earned a National Safety Council Million Mile Award for 30 years of safe driving. This year, the National Safety Council recognized Stout’s continued superior driving record with an award of rare distinction.

Stout recently received the 2016 Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year for the Western Area. Only one award is given to a safe driver for each Area in the Postal Service. The honor marks Stout’s driving record as one of seven in the nation that stands out above all others.

Each 2016 Joseph M. Kaplan recipient is invited to attend the 2016 NSC Annual Congress & Expo event for safety, health and environmental professionals this month where they will receive a medallion and crystal award.

Emporia safe drivers

Emporia, KS, City Carriers Julie Schaefer, Robin Hotzel, and Janet Way

Emporia, KS, City Carriers Julie Schaefer, Robin Hotzel, and Janet Way

Emporia, KS, City Carriers Julie Schaefer, Robin Hotzel, and Janet Way have set a high standard when it comes to safe driving. Combined, the trio has a total of 86 years of accident-free driving. That’s no easy accomplishment, and it’s a commitment each takes seriously.

Five years ago, Hotzel received a National Safety Council Million Mile Award. The recognition is a prestigious accomplishment, but she isn’t willing to rest on her laurels. Hotzel continues her dedication to safe driving and has recently earned a 35-year safe driving pin.

Schaefer and Way are a few years shy of earning their Million Mile Awards, but each has a significant safe driving record of their own. Their excellence in safe driving recently earned each a 25 and 26-year safe driving pin, respectively.

Emporia Postmaster Harry Gifford is proud of their accomplishments.

“Julie, Robin, and Janet take tremendous pride in their safe driving records,” said Gifford. “It’s a pride I feel every day by having them on my team.”

Carriers help each other stay safe in the summer sun

Mesa City Carrier Robin Henderson, Customer Services Manager Alice Gonzalez, and City Carrier Nikki Synodis.

Mesa City Carrier Robin Henderson, Customer Services Manager Alice Gonzalez, and City Carrier Nikki Synodis.

Mesa City Carrier Robin Henderson was on her route in the hot Arizona sun when she decided to check on a new City Carrier Assistant to see how he was faring in the heat. She found the gentleman with two hours left on his route and no water to help stay hydrated.

Henderson knew the importance of drinking water regularly to avoid dehydration and heat-related illnesses. She conveyed her concern to the CCA and stressed the importance of drinking plenty of water during the hot summer months. She also gave him the rest of the water she had left with her. Later on, she located and washed uniforms he could use to help protect him from the sun and presented them to him the following day.

When Mesa Postmaster Yolanda Stenson found out about the CCA’s hydration deficiency, she discussed the matter with him to reinforce the importance of drinking enough water throughout the day. That’s when the CCA told her about the tough decision he had to make between buying a larger water container and heat-friendly clothing or purchasing enough food to feed his family. Stenson told him that she’d see what could be done about helping him with his situation and gave him the water she had before he went on his route.

Before Stenson could leave the office to buy supplies for the CCA, she discovered that Customer Services Manager Alice Gonzalez had already purchased a large water container, a cooler, a case of Gatorade, and heat-friendly clothing for the CCA using personal funds. City Carrier and Safety Captain Nikki Synodis also regularly checked on the CCA to make sure he was staying hydrated.

“I’m proud of my team,” said Stenson. “We truly have a culture of safety and do everything we can to help keep each other safe.”

Safety a high priority at Cheyenne Mountain

Colorado Springs, CO, Cheyenne Mountain Station Custodian George Renault and City Carrier Virginia Ortiz.

Colorado Springs, CO, Cheyenne Mountain Station Custodian George Renault and City Carrier Virginia Ortiz.

In addition to his regular duties, Colorado Springs, CO, Cheyenne Mountain Station Custodian George Renault tours his office regularly, carefully scrutinizing the workspace for safety concerns. Recently, he performed a gemba walk along with City Carrier and Safety Captain Virginia Ortiz and Customer Service Program Analyst Doreen Husner.

A gemba walk an in observation-based walk of a workspace designed to identify improvement opportunities. The process is not only designed to enhance efficiencies, it also finds correctable hazards that can improve safety when remedied.

As the gemba team located safety concerns, they acted to correct the issues. Following the walk, Oritz gave a stand-up talk to all facility employees, asking them to keep up the cleanliness of the unit to keep everyone safe.

“George and Virginia did an exceptional job,” said Husner. “Thanks to their efforts, the office is a safer, cleaner place to work.”

Provo safe driving club

Provo, UT, Postmaster Rick Brandon, Customer Services Manager Carmen Brennan, City Carriers Jill Hansen, Warren Prete, and Neil Bushman, Rural Carrier Hilma Grinsell, City Carrier Ron Lyons, and District Manager Darrell Stoke

Provo, UT, Postmaster Rick Brandon, Customer Services Manager Carmen Brennan, City Carriers Jill Hansen, Warren Prete, and Neil Bushman, Rural Carrier Hilma Grinsell, City Carrier Ron Lyons, and District Manager Darrell Stoke.

Safe driving is no easy accomplishment. It takes continuous awareness of one’s surroundings at all times and concentration on the task of driving. Five careful drivers were recently recognized in Provo, UT, for 30 years of dedication to safe driving.

Provo City Carriers Jill Hansen, Hilma Grinsell, Warren Prete, Neil Bushman and Ron Lyons each received a National Safety Council Million Mile Award for driving one million miles, or 30 years, without a preventable accident.

“I’m very proud to be able to recognize Jill, Hilma, Warren, Neil and Ron,” said Provo Postmaster Rick Brandon. “The Safe Driver Award is the highest award for professional safe driving performance, and to qualify as a member of the Million Mile Club puts them in an elite category.”

Brandon asked his skilled drivers about the secrets to their success. Their responses serve as valuable tips for others to achieve the same significant accomplishment.

“They attribute their accident-free driving to being constantly alert for dangers, anticipating what another driver might do, paying attention to surroundings, looking ahead, and giving themselves enough time to react in a safe manner while checking mirrors and following the rules,” said Brandon.

Make the Smart Choice

Make the smart choice

Distractions while driving can go beyond fiddling with a phone, eating a sandwich or adjusting a radio station. It could also include tending to a sudden shift of items inside the vehicle.

When something moves out of place such as a phone dropping to the floor, don’t take your eyes off the road to deal with the problem. Pull over to a safe area, put the vehicle in park and switch off the ignition. Only then should someone attempt to clean up a spill, pick up a dropped item, or manipulate shifted objects.

A momentary distraction while driving can cause a serious accident, no matter what that distraction is. Also, remember to always wear a seat belt. Even though you may avoid distractions while driving, another driver may not.

Smart choices can help save lives, and it’s up to you to make the choice to stay safe. Avoid distracted driving and always wear a seat belt to substantially lower the risk of death or injury while inside a vehicle.

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