Thirty-eight and half years can seem like a long time for some people. But for retired mail driver Sandy Benz, working in Dunn Center and Killdeer was a great experience.
By Zak Wellerman
She began delivering mail in Dunn Center in January 1979 and would also sub for drivers in Killdeer. She retired this year at the end of July and still continues the jobs occasionally by helping out at the Killdeer post office.
She retired to “spend more time with kids and grandkids.” She has five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In the beginning, delivering mail was just a job for Benz, but she soon grew to love being there.
Well, I just really needed the job and there wasn’t that much in Killdeer to do at the time,” Benz said. “I enjoyed it and all the patrons are really nice and helpful.I really enjoyed it. It was nice going the same routes every day, but it was really nice to drive and help deliver people’s mail.”
Delivering mail in North Dakota weather can be challenging, especially in the winter. However, there were customers to help Benz out when she needed them.
“Some of the winters were kind of tough. The first winter I started was a really bad winter. And all the patrons are really good about helping if you get stuck and can help you out,” Benz said. “People were always really helpful.”
Friend and former co-worker Debi Biffert said Benz went above and beyond the call of duty with her customers and made sure their packages came to them in good condition.
Biffert has been Benz’s friend for 20 years and worked as a sub driver for four to five years before become full-time at the post office about three years ago.
Her favorite memories of Benz is when they would eat lunch and sort and deliver the mail together.
“She was good at what she did and had fun with it,” Biffert said. “She always endeavored to do the best job she ever did.”
Benz would really work through rain, sleet and snow, Biffert said.
Marlene Mead, who worked with Benz for a little over a year, also had great things to say about her hard work.
“She always went out of her way to make sure she gave good customer service,” Mead said.
When she retired from the post office, her co-workers gave her gifts, flowers, cake and ice cream and a poem. Her family also had a retirement party for her at the High Plains Cultural Center a few months ago.
Benz added that she was glad when the mail drivers got cell phones so they could call for help.
She said that she enjoyed getting to know the people on her route and she got to know nearly everyone in the community.
Benz also received an Eagle Award for her accomplishments in the postal service. When asked why she thinks she received the award, Benz said “just doing the best job I could I guess.”
One of Sandy’s coworkers wrote her a poem in honor of her retirement.
For over thirty-six years, Sandy Benz has been on the go
Through rain, sleet, hail, and snow.
On a mail route that many people would say
Oh my! What the hay!?
Sorting mail and packages up the wazoo
And we know you don’t like much ado about what you do….
But we felt you deserved something for all you’ve done
For every customer you have under the sun.
I know many have no idea of all you’ve done and put up with
Along all the routes and what they come with…
All the many different postmasters, drivers, rules and changes, changes, changes…
But, you took it all in stride as you drove and walked across the ranges.
Now, on July 31 you’re hanging up your hat
But, two days later you’ll be right back up to bat.
So, you see it’s like the old saying good people never go away…
They stay around so they can play and work another day!
We wish you good luck, good times and peace
As you enter this journey of your life with ease…
And know that we will miss and we appreciate you.
So, without further adieux we raise our glasses to you!