Carrier Puts Centenarian’s Concern At Ease

Salt Lake City, UT, City Carrier Jan Androes.

Salt Lake City, UT, City Carrier Jan Androes.

Rolland Tougas lives alone in an apartment located in Salt Lake City, UT. While the 100-year old Tougas avoids modern communication technology such as telephones and the Internet, he does regularly use one service he’s known all his life – the Postal Service. Tougas maintains regular contact with his Edmonton, Canada family through the mail, but when he didn’t receive a letter from his niece and nephew for a longer than usual time period, he became concerned.

Tougas expressed that concern to Salt Lake City, UT, City Carrier Jan Androes while she was on her route. Androes offered to call his family in Canada and Tougas provided her with the telephone number. Though nobody answered the phone when she called, Androes left a message. Soon thereafter, Tougas’s niece returned the call to let her uncle know she had been out of town for a while and was in good health. Tougas’s niece was so impressed with Androes help that she sent a letter to the Postmaster expressing her gratitude.

“I believe this type of service is over and above, and deserves recognition,” said Tougas’s niece.

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Family History

Joann Lutcavich and Erma Gyhra cutting the ribbon for the dedication of the Steinauer Community Heritage House.

Joann Lutcavich and Erma Gyhra cutting the ribbon for the dedication of the Steinauer Community Heritage House.

The small town of Steinauer, NE, is home to 75 close-knit community members who value the rich heritage of their historic territory. Named after three brothers from Switzerland who founded the town in 1856, the population has dwindled some since its peak of 248 residents in 1910, but the legacy of the Steinauer family remains as strong as ever.

Last month, the Steinauer family converged on their namesake town from as far away as Peru for a family reunion. One of the main events held during the gathering was the re-dedication of the former Post Office into a community museum called the Steinauer Community Heritage House.

“We had nearly 150 people join us for the dedication,” said Event Organizer Terry Wagner-Lomax. “It was the kick-off for the family reunion.”

The conversion of the Post Office into a museum was a community-involved effort, with many members contributing special items to the cause. The gathering at the re-dedication ceremony brought back fond memories of it’s past.

“As a child, one of the placed we always used to stop in was the Post Office,” said Terry. “The Postmaster would always have a treat for us and it was a lot of fun.”

The 792 square-foot building, built in 1874, served as the Post Office for nearly 120 years. In honor of its service to the town, two Steinauer brothers purchased the property and renovated the building. It’s transition into a community museum involved careful planning and the support of the local community.

“The project itself started a year and a half ago,” said Terry. “When people found out about the project, they started bringing things to the Post Office such as the original mail sorting desk and employee desk. When we looked inside the drawers, we found original route maps. It’s been fun for the community to see these things go back to where they belong.”

Terry’s great, great grandfather, Joseph Steinauer, was one of the original founders of the town. He also became the first Postmaster in 1874.

“Joseph originally ran the Post Office out of his home,” said Terry. “He eventually built a building and moved the Post Office there. He never received a salary as a Postmaster, but he did make a little from selling stamps, though it was never more than $20 a year.”

In addition to serving as a Post Office, the building simultaneously served as the town’s first bank and printing press. Eventually, the bank moved to a separate building and the press ceased operation, leaving the Post Office as the sole business occupant for more than a century.

The Steinauer Community Heritage House is home to postal memorabilia, a memorial to the community’s veterans, and a variety of photographs, documents and other items that chronicle the rich history of the town and the Post Office. The unique collection of items housed inside the fully restored building will provide the opportunity for members of the community to relive and rediscover the heritage of the town for many generations to come.

Steinauer PO 2

An image of the Steinauer Post Office many decades ago.

Steinauer PO 1

The Steinauer Post Office as it appears today.

A Proud Family Tradition

Flandreau, SD, Postmaster Alisha VanderWal, Luverne, MN, Postmaster Clint Roozenboom, Dakotas District Complement Coordinator Eunice Roozenboom, and retired Hills, MN, Postmaster Dora Roozenboom Steffen.

Flandreau, SD, Postmaster Alisha VanderWal, Luverne, MN, Postmaster Clint Roozenboom, Dakotas District Complement Coordinator Eunice Roozenboom, and retired Hills, MN, Postmaster Dora Roozenboom Steffen.

Joining the family business isn’t as common in today’s world as it might have been in days past, but for one family in the Dakotas District, that tradition is both alive and well.

Eunice Roozenboom is a district complement coordinator in Sioux Falls, SD. She enjoys working for an organization that offers career advancement opportunity as well as superior compensation, and she passed along that strong viewpoint to her children. Recently, she saw her positive influence in action as she had the opportunity to install her son Clint Roozenboom as the Luverne, MN, Postmaster.

Eunice’s joy in seeing her son become Postmaster at a facility where both previously served as letter carriers was further amplified the following day when she also had the opportunity to install her daughter Alisha VanderWal as the Postmaster of Flandreau, SD. Alisha’s connection to the family business goes beyond a common employer, however, as she also served as a letter carrier in Luverne, the same office as her mother and brother.

Family traditions have an origin, and though Eunice played an instrumental role in guiding her children toward the Postal Service, it was her mother-in-law, Dora Roozenboom Steffen, who started it all. Dora served in many capacities until her retirement as Hills, MN, Postmaster in 1991, but one particular capacity rings a familiar bell – as a carrier in Luverne.

The tradition may someday carry forward to a fourth generation, as Clint recently married on August 16. Whichever career path future generations of the Roozenboom family may select, they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they come from a proud line of the postal family.

Smiles Fly from Family Surprise

John Tate million mile 1

When Grantsville, UT, Rural Carrier John Tate was awarded his million mile plaque earlier this month, he received more than a trophy to commemorate the occasion.

Postmaster Ronald Dalton wanted to make the special event one to remember, so he secretly invited Tate’s family to the station to be a part of the ceremony. When Tate turned the corner in the office and saw most of his family standing before him, the look on his face was enough to show how much he appreciated the gesture.

“I could tell it meant a lot to him to have his whole family there,” said Dalton.

Tate’s son Travis, a rural carrier for the same station, was also presented with a 12 year safe driving award during the celebration.

Preparing for the Feast

Preparing for the Feast

Hi all. Benny here. The big day is almost here, and I’m still working on final preparations for the family get together tomorrow.

Many people create such wonderful feasts this time of year, and the traditions are as varied as my personal collection of postage stamps (which is pretty huge, in case you’re wondering). Treats such as turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and deviled eggs (my personal favorite) typically grace the table. However, there are far more goodies out there than this delicious ensemble.

Other delicacies include fried carp, potato salad, roast pork, rice pudding, smoked salmon, tamales, menudo, lamb, roast vegetables, stuffed chicken, herring in cream sauce, cabbage soup and so much more.

Are you getting hungry yet? I know I sure am. In fact, I think it’s time to “taste test” the feast I’m still preparing for tomorrow. I don’t think my guests will mind.

I’d love to hear what festive foods you’ll be putting on the table tomorrow. It’ll help me plan an even better meal for next year’s feast.

Have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!

 

Benny

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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