STAMP OF APPROVAL
The New Year is already starting out better for Laurie Hauschild ... she doesn't have to go to work anymore.
Hauschild's last day as a Minneota rural postal carrier was last Thursday. After 32 years, she figured it was time to enjoy some other things in life.
"Some of my grandkids are in sports and I'll be able to watch them now," she said. "It was just time to make a change. I won't have to drive in the snow and ice anymore either."
The day before Hauschild was to begin her job as a postal carrier was Christmas Day of 1988. She was welcomed with 18 inches of snow that blanketed the area and made driving anywhere a challenge.
"I bought an old Jeep from a neighbor to deliver in so it wasn't too bad getting through the snow," she said.
And that would be the first of many vehicles she has used to deliver in the country and in town over those 32 years.
"I always bought older vehicles to deliver in and I would use my other vehicle if I needed four-wheel drive," she said. "But I can't even begin to tell you how many vehicles I've gone through."
When she began driving, her route was around 125 miles. More recently, delivering to 440 boxes in both town and country, her route was 102 miles. In all, she calculates the number of miles she has driven for the postal service to be around 800,000.
"I've worked with a lot of great postmasters over the years," she noted. "I've really got to work with a lot of great people; in the office and those I deliver to."
And the people she works with enjoyed having her in the office each morning.
Hauschild was given a "Happy Retirement" cake on her last day of work by co-workers.
"She was very dedicated to her job and was a pleasure to be around," said Clark Corbin, the Minneota Postmaster. "We will miss her stories and hearing her laugh."
Hauschild mentioned the number of people that greet her at the mailbox to say hello.
"I got to know a lot of the kids that would meet me when I delivered the mail," she told. "And then as the years went on, I would be delivering their graduation announcements and cards and things like that. You really get to know some of the people you deliver for."
And some of those people have shown their appreciation with memorable gifts at Christmas time, too.
And it's not just people that greet her during deliveries.
"One place in the country that I delivered to had a black lab," she said. "When I would get out of my vehicle to deliver a package to the house, the dog would always bring me a ball and want me to play with him."The postal service's unofficial motto over the years has been, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
Hauschild can attest to delivering in all those types of conditions ... and more.
"We had icy roads for four months in '96-'97," she said. "Even last week when we had the blizzard, I couldn't even see to drive in town because the winds were so bad. I'm not going to miss any of that."
Christmas-time is also challenging for postal workers with the additional cards and packages that have to be delivered.
"This year, especially," she said. "A lot more people sent packages because of COVID. Sometimes I would have to make an extra trip back to the post office to get the rest of the packages."
Hauschild and her husband, Richard, live outside of Porter. They have two children and four grandchildren.
"We don't really have any specific plans," she said about her recent retirement. "My husband is self-employed, so we can do more things that we want now."