YORKTOWN, Ind. (AP) — This week will be the first time in a long while that 32-year Yorktown Post Office veteran Kathy Bland won’t have to be in the office at 7:30 a.m.
For the community of Yorktown, that will be a big change.
Bland had originally gone to school at Ball State University to be a teacher, but was offered the post office job in Yorktown, which came with better pay and a chance to be outside.
After 32 years on the same mail route, she left an impression on the community.
News of her retirement spread fast, with a Facebook post by the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce generating more than 70 comments.
Those comments, many from the nearly 900 people along her mail route, were filled with fond memories and well wishes for her retirement.
The other clear message is that those along her route, including their pets, would miss her.
“I’ve never heard a harsh word out of her,” said Cindy Spears, one of the residents Bland has delivered mail to over the years.
Bland went about her job in an old fashioned way, making sure that she stopped and got to know almost everyone along her route, including their pets.
“I’m a huge animal lover, so I love when the dogs come to get a treat,” Bland said.
The dogs along the route even know the sound of the mail truck and look forward to the routine, usually because they will get a treat out of the carrier.
“They get used to it, and I had to laugh that she won’t be there to give them a treat anymore,” Spears said.
Over the years, Bland has also had a chance to see the people and the community develop during her career, leading to a connection she never thought would have been possible.
“You see kids born, grow up and eventually start families of their own over that time,” Bland said. She can go down the list and tell you about many of the residents along her route, most of whom she considers close friends.
“These people are my family,” Bland said.
Bland’s grandfather had been a postal worker who was nicknamed “Uncle Tom,” who had been well-liked along his route for going above and beyond.
He was also known for getting to know the residents along his route, becoming popular with the children as he would be known to hand out a stick of gum to them.
“That’s just who I am,” said Bland, who looked to her grandfather as someone to emulate in the job.
The old fashioned way Bland connected with people along her route made her stand out.
“She always knows what’s going on with people individually,” Hurley said.
Because of her work, Bland had become familiar with a lot of the local pets and would work with the town to find the owners of pets that wound up in the kennels at the street department.
In addition to the job, Bland coached sports at Yorktown Community schools for many years which also helped her become a well beloved community member.
Source: The (Muncie) Star Press, http://tspne.ws/2v1awxX
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com