The Riverbank Post Office hosted a celebration on Friday, May 24 to honor three letter carriers that are now part of the million mile club. The United States Postal Service (USPS) along with the National Safety Council recognizes drivers that have traveled one million miles or have gone 30 years without an accident.
Riverbank Postmaster Stella Reyes, District Manager Jagdeep Grewal, and the district’s safety manager along with staff were all present to honor the three million mile recipients, Lori Morse, Tony Tsao, and Walter Burke. They were treated to a potluck and were presented a cake with their picture on it to celebrate their achievement. They each received a ‘million mile’ pin along with a jacket and a plaque.
“These three employees’ names have been added to the national list of drivers that have not had any accidents and/or incidents that could have been preventable,” stated Grewal. “I thought how far can you go in a million miles? If you go around the earth it’s about 24,000 miles. You would have to go four times to achieve this. That is really commendable.”
Grewal reminded all the postal workers to always wear their seatbelts, close the doors on their trucks, and never use phones while driving.
The award from the National Safety Council is for anyone in transportation and the Postal Service recognizes the drivers with 30 years of service.
“In our own personal vehicles we always wear our seatbelts and our vehicles have protection,” added Grewal. “We have air bags but these tin cans don’t have anything. Seatbelts save lives and do not use your phone while you are driving; those text messages or phone calls can wait.”
During the presentation she also shared a few statistics that indicate 80 percent of road collisions are from distractions and almost all of them are due to cell phones.
The drivers were all commended, officials noting that with today’s distractions, for the local carriers to be able to drive 30 years and a million miles without an accident is astonishing.
Morse has been a letter carrier for over 30 years and always watches ahead as she is delivering mail. She expressed besides the heat or the rain she truly enjoys carrying mail and being out on the streets.
“It (million mile) is great because it is an appreciation for doing something safe and they are always talking about safety and accidents,” said Morse. “I have been lucky to not have any close calls. I think it is just good to be proud of something I achieved after 30 years.”
Tsao has also worked for USPS for over 30 years and is very proud of the million mile achievement. He has spent 28 years at the Riverbank Post Office.
Spending 28 years at the Riverbank Post Office as well, Burke has been serving the USPS for 30 years. He also enjoys being out on the streets delivering mail and after so many years several customers have become family.
“It is a fun job,” added Burke. “It gives you exercise.”
He recalled an incident where he was on his route and kids were playing soccer. A youngster darted out into his path but Burke’s instincts kicked in and an accident was avoided.
“It is something that I never thought about 30 years ago,” he said. “Although we saw other people get them. It just reminds me that being safe every day is important and it doesn’t end today, it continues. It is nice to be recognized.”
With a staff of about 22 employees total including clerks in Riverbank, the postal service has seen some changes throughout the years including a decrease in the volume of mail. However, there is an increase in the packages that are now being sent and according to Reyes their team is the very best.
“I feel great that I was able to be part of their celebration,” expressed Reyes. “It is something you earn through your postal career being accident free and taking pride in what you are doing. I am very proud of them. I love my team. These are the best people to work with.”