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Mail carrier ends long career

Leeta Dolsky

Photo by Clarke Davis
Leeta Dolsky cased mail for her route for the last time Friday. She has retired after 32 years with USPS.

 

by Clarke Davis
Leeta Dolsky ended a 32-year career Friday delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service.
She was a substitute carrier for seven years before going full time in 1990. Since then she has served the 400 Valley Falls customers on Route 2, traveling 93 miles a day.
She first substituted for retired mail carrier Pat Jackson and later for Pat’s husband, Keith, on Route 1. She has always served Route 2 since going full time, but did substitute some on a Lancaster route and an auxiliary route out of Ozawkie.
Route 2 catches a few city customers on the west side of town and the rural territory west of the Delaware River.
“I’ll be happy to leave those gravel roads behind,” she said.
She can recall a lot of incidents with snow drifts, mud, flat tires, and mechanical problems.
“But it’s changed a lot especially having cell phones. Being able to call someone made it better, ” she said.
There were times she had to walk to  find a farmer at home to help her if she was stuck in snow or mud.
“I could change a car tire in the early days but these truck and Jeep tires are too heavy for me. I have to call for help,” she said.
The way things are done at the post office has changed a great deal in those years, she noted.
“It used to take two to three hours to sort the mail in the morning before heading out,” she said. “Now most of it comes presorted in tubs from Kansas City ready to be loaded in the Jeep.”
Mail carriers arrive at the post office at 7:30 a.m. and they are on the road within an hour. Dolsky is back in town usually by 3 p.m., but it depends on the season and the amount of mail to be delivered.
She has gone through about a dozen vehicles since she started, switching from cars to pickups and finally a Jeep. She used to sit in the middle of the seat and drive with her left hand. She used a mail hawker, a long-handled tool that would grasp the mail and assist in reaching the mailbox.
Getting a Jeep a few years ago with the steering wheel on the right side has made it easier, she said.
Leeta, who is 64, said she’d always planned on working until she was 70, but arthritis in her hands and back pain has helped her decide to quit earlier.
She said the recent mild winters have helped make the job easier and she was highly complimentary of the county’s job of maintaining the roads and getting them open quickly when it snows.
“I loved the job but I’m tired of eating dust,” she said.
Leeta raised three daughters and has six grandchildren. Her thoughts are now with a newborn grandchild in Tulsa, Okla., recuperating from heart surgery.

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Posted by on Jun 3 2015. Filed under Featured, The Vindicator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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