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Long Beach letter carriers recognized for three decades of accident-free driving

Sixteen USPS employees in LB log a million miles without accidents

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Photos courtesy USPS
Manuel Luna is among 16 United States Postal Service letter carriers in Long Beach who were recently recognized for having three decades of accident-free driving.

Long Beach letter carriers Manuel Luna and Shari Hall have one accomplishment in common– the two have logged in a million accident-free miles over the past three decades.

“Now imagine,” according toa USPS press release, “the equivalent of driving 40 times around the globe each without ever leaving the city limits, and imagine doing it safely, under hazardous road conditions, gridlock, rural terrain, and with a vigilant eye on inattentive drivers.”

Luna and Hall, along with 14 other letter carriers representing the United States Postal Service (USPS), were recently recognized for accident-free driving. Nine employees from the Spring Carrier Annex and seven from the North Carrier Annex were honored. The Spring drivers cover neighborhoods from Lakewood to Cal State Long Beach, and North drivers cover neighborhoods close to Los Angeles and Compton.

In a phone interview with the Signal Tribune, Luna discussed his background and how it led to becoming a letter carrier for the Spring Carrier Annex.

“I have been carrying mail for 35 years,” he said. “Before I was hired at the post office, I was military. So, I was in the military for four years straight out of high school. I just applied to the post office, because when I was out of the military, I had a lot of people telling me that I should try and apply at the post office, because they hire veterans. So, that is what I did, and here I am.”

Luna explained that he is an active member on a safety committee for the USPS.

“[The post office] taught me how to stay alive,” he said. “Just to be aware of your surroundings, and safety is No. 1 in the post office. We really stress safety.”

Hall, on the other hand, applied to become a mail carrier at the North Carrier Annex, along with her sister Roxann Gonzalez, when she was 19 years old.

“We have been working together for, like, 32 years,” she added, laughing.

Out of those 32 years, Hall explained, she has become more patient and aware of her surroundings while she is on the job.

Both Luna and Hall stressed how appreciative they are that the postal service taught defensive driving.

Shari Hall is among 16 USPS letter carriers in Long Beach who were recently recognized for having three decades of accident-free driving.

“Before we actually got hired,” Hall explained, “you go through a training process. Part of the training is driver’s training, and one of the things that they taught us was to drive defensively. So, I always try to drive defensively– always looking ahead. Whenever you come to a stop, if there is somebody else at the stop, always let them go first. Never be aggressive, just kind of always be on the defense.”

As for safe-driving tips, Luna explained how drivers should take their time and be courteous, while Hall recommended “looking ahead” to prevent an accident.

Luna added that the 16 letter carriers are exceptions since accidents on the job are common.

“You know,” he said, “it happens everyday. Unfortunately, yes, speaking nationwide, and even here in Long Beach, we have accidents almost every day.”

Even though Luna did not expect an award, he explained his gratitude and optimism for the future of the post office.

“[The award] means a lot to me, because it just shows that sometimes we just do our job and we come to work and we take our job for granted,” he said. “It shows that they appreciate me […] and also my coworkers that received the same award that were appreciated. Hopefully, by us doing that, it leads other carriers or postal employees to be a lot better drivers– to be safe.”

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Long Beach letter carriers recognized for three decades of accident-free driving