A rewarding career that almost wasn’t

Peyton, CO, Rural Carrier Karen Lash with Post Office Operations Manager Tim Huskey

Peyton, CO, Rural Carrier Karen Lash recently received the prestigious Million Mile Award from Post Office Operations Manager Tim Huskey. Her dedication to safe driving for the Postal Service almost never came to be without the urging of a trusted family member.

Lash started her postal career as a rural carrier associate in Canon City, CO, in 1981. When her brother, a rural carrier, suggested she apply for the job, she wasn’t certain it was for her. After no small amount of coaxing, she relented and joined the Postal Service soon thereafter. Nearly 36 years later, Lash is grateful her brother convinced her to apply to the organization where she’s enjoyed a rewarding career ever since.

“Karen is giving and kind to everyone, but goes above and beyond in customer service for her patrons,” said Huskey.

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Safe drivers celebrate success

Twin Falls, ID, City Carriers Rod Huber, Dean Ambrose, Dick Walker, and Doug Ahrens

Twin Falls, ID, City Carriers Rod Huber, Dean Ambrose, Dick Walker, and Doug Ahrens

Few things speak more highly of a person’s dedication to safe driving than the National Safety Council’s Million Mile Award. This prestigious honor is granted only to those who have driven for 30 years or one million miles without an at-fault accident. Recently, four drivers in Twin Falls, ID, accomplished this remarkable success.

City Carriers Rod Huber, Dean Ambrose, Dick Walker, and Doug Ahrens were each presented with the Million Mile Award by Postmaster Wendy Eckler. The Twin Falls team cheered the success of their coworkers with a donut celebration.

“I am extremely proud to have such safety-conscious drivers on my team,” said Eckler. “Their dedication is a great example for others to follow because at the end of the day, I want everyone to be able to go home safely to their families.”

“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.

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.”

Safe driving three million miles in the making

City Carriers Randy Rabas, Rodney Riesinger, and Roland Barnes with Dakotas District Manager Doug Stephens (center)

City Carriers Randy Rabas, Rodney Riesinger, and Roland Barnes with Dakotas District Manager Doug Stephens (center)

At a recent employee gathering in Billings, MT, Dakotas District Manager Doug Stephens made a surprise visit with employees to celebrate three major milestones.

City Carriers Randy Rabas, Rodney Riesinger, and Roland Barnes each received the coveted Million Mile Award for 30 years, or one million miles, of driving without an at-fault accident.

“Randy, Rodney, and Roland’s achievement is a great accomplishment, and I’m proud of their commitment to safety on the road,” said Stephens.

Safely going the extra mile

Jamestown, ND, Rural Carrier Craig Neys

Jamestown, ND, Rural Carrier Craig Neys

When Jamestown, ND, Rural Carrier Craig Neys recently received a Million Mile award for 30 years of safe driving, he appreciated the recognition. Just as his commitment to safety is unwavering, so is his pride and passion for superior customer service.

Jamestown, ND, Postmaster Gerard Bercier appreciates the dedication Neys brings to his job and for the high level of service he offers to members of the local community.

“He is constantly going the extra mile for his customers,” said Bercier. “They all know him and I have received words of appreciation for his service on numerous occasions.”

Sick leave saver drives one million miles without accident

David City, NE, City Carrier Larry Bruns with Postmaster Sherri Helman

David City, NE, City Carrier Larry Bruns with Postmaster Sherri Helman

When David City, NE, City Carrier Larry Bruns began his career with the Postal Service in 1978, he never imagined he would be recognized for his safe, conscientious driving. After 30 years on the road as a carrier, he recently received that recognition from the National Safety Council and he’s now in an elite class of drivers.

Besides being an expert driver, Bruns also became a dedicated sick leave saver. That decision helped both he and his family survive financially during a difficult medical situation.

Five years ago, Bruns was diagnosed with West Nile Virus. Following the diagnosis, Bruns spent the next three months recovering from the illness and was unable to work during this time. If not for the sick leave he had saved, his family’s well-being might have been put in jeopardy.

“I’m so grateful that I had banked my sick leave and to be able contribute to the household budget and care for my wife and two sons,” said Bruns.

The secret of safe driving

Phoenix, AZ, South Mountain Station City Carrier Richard Villa and Phoenix Customer Service Operations Manager David Coronado

Phoenix, AZ, South Mountain Station City Carrier Richard Villa and Phoenix Customer Service Operations Manager David Coronado

Safe driving is always worth the effort it takes to maintain an accident-free record. For Phoenix, AZ, South Mountain Station City Carrier Richard Villa, that involves 30 years of careful attention to all safety rules of the road.

Phoenix Customer Service Operations Manager David Coronado recently had the pleasure of presenting Villa with a Million Mile Award for his accident-free driving record. Villa started his career with the Postal Service in 1986, and has served at the South Mountain Station ever since.

When asked about his safe driving success, Villa shared his wisdom to help fellow employees follow in his footsteps of success.

“Always be aware of your surroundings when driving a motor vehicle,” said Villa.

A Million Miles of Safe Driving

South Sioux City, NE, City Carrier Patty Koenig

South Sioux City, NE, City Carrier Patty Koenig

Little did Patty Koenig realize when she started her employment at USPS as an LSM operator in Sioux City, IA, that she would one day join the Million Mile Club. Yet, after 30 years of safe driving, that’s exactly what she accomplished.

After 11 months as an LSM operator, Koenig transferred to South Sioux City, NE, as a city carrier. She has continued to deliver out of the same facility ever since. Last week, Koenig received generous praise and a special plaque highlighting her dedicated accomplishment of driving more than 1,000,000 miles without a preventable accident.

“Watch everything that is going on around you,” Koenig suggests to other drivers. “You cannot always predict what another person or driver will do.”

Postmaster Elmer Smith was honored to have the opportunity to celebrate Koenig’s achievement. “As her Postmaster, I have observed her dedication to driver safety. One of the things I appreciate is how politely she will caution children to be careful around the LLV and to wait until she has moved on before they retrieve their mail.”

  • 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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