Postal carriers honored for safety, service
Posted February 27, 2008
EASTPOINTE — In the vein of milkmen from decades gone by, the mail carrier is one of the last semblances of the old, community environment where people talked face to face and exchanged greetings on the sidewalk.
When it comes to being part of the fabric of Eastpointe, three local postal carriers have dedicated their careers to the streets of the city and put safety first when on the road.
U.S. Postal Service employees John Bacal, Ernie Hickey and Bob Ward were recognized as new members of the Million Mile Club in honor of three decades or more of work on the road with no motor vehicle accidents.
“We respect and honor our carriers’ driving accomplishments because the Postal Service places a very high priority on serving the local community safely and professionally,” Eastpointe Postmaster Kate Brooks said. “Plain and simple, the carriers who aspire to the Million Mile Club are among our finest ambassadors.”
The awards were handed out this month and the carriers have been recognized by the U.S. Postal Service and the National Safety Council, according to a press release.
While postal carriers are seen walking from door to door on their routes, a lot of their time in the service is also spent driving throughout the community.
“Safe driving is a huge component of a letter carrier’s responsibilities,” Brooks said, adding that the mail truck is used by many “as moving storage containers.”
However, there are postal carriers in cities that have roadside mailboxes who spend most of their days driving along their routes. Therefore, the award also is given to carriers who haven’t reached 30 years, but have driven 1 million miles safely, Brooks said.
Keeping the communities they work in safe is important to carriers, especially since they tend to come to think of those along their route as family.
Ward said he feels like they’ve become like family to him.
Ward has been on the same route for many years. He works along Nine Mile between Kelly and Gratiot.
“This is a lot of restaurants and schools,” Ward said. “At least half of my customers have been the same for the last 28 … years,” he said.
He’s been invited to children’s birthdays, confirmations and other important family events.
“You get to know people,” he said.
Hickey feels the same.
He also started in the 1970s, but has worked a number of different routes, and is now in the Nine Mile and Kelly area.
Working so many different routes has given him an opportunity to know the community as a whole.
He had to switch to Nine Mile and Kelly when he had to get knee surgery and needed a different type of route.
“I do miss my old route … it’s because of the people,” he said.
“They came up [and] talked to you all the time and greeted you,” Hickey said.
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