Ferndale mail carriers drive 1 million miles with no accidents

For Sue Powell and Cyndy Doll, driving without any accidents is about more than safety — it’s about taking pride in their job.

On Dec. 5, Ferndale-area postal carriers Powell and Doll, along with retired postal carrier Geri DeZarn, were given safe-driving awards from the National Safety Council for driving 1 million miles, or 30 years, without an accident on their mailing routes.

Powell said it’s a badge of honor that recognizes their longevity with the U.S. Postal Service.

“I want to get my job done as efficiently as possible and come back safe,” Powell said.

Ferndale postmaster Diana Schuler said these are the first three employees to achieve the feat in her 12 years as postmaster.

Both Powell and Doll said they’ve had some close calls over the last three decades. Even something as simple as hitting a rear-view mirror or a mailbox could be counted as an accident, Powell said.

Doll said she moves her vehicle at least 750 times a day, and other drivers often don’t notice her.

“Every time you move you have to be aware of everything around,” Doll said.

Powell said bicyclists challenge her safe driving even more than winter weather because they have a tendency to sneak up on mail carriers.

“I think they don’t realize that we don’t see them,” Powell said.

While the carriers say they have not had any accidents that were their fault, Doll said she has been rear-ended twice by other drivers. One driver was looking at cows and didn’t notice the postal vehicle ahead.

Powell said she began working part time as a postal carrier more than 30 years ago, thinking it would be “kind of a hoot” for a short time. She ended up keeping the job because she liked building relationships with customers, seeing children grow up and watching their faces light up when a Christmas package is delivered.

Although Powell said they are “within retirement age,” she and Doll will continue to deliver the mail until their bodies won’t let them anymore.

“It’s still a hoot,” Powell said.