After a 39-year career with the postal department, Glenn "Pat" Stover will retire Nov 3. Mr. Stover stands in front of the 209 rural mail boxes into which he sorts the mail each morning before beginning his 133-mile route. (Hub Photo by Debbie Comton)
During the last recent rural mail count, Mr. Stover handled an average of over 1,000 pieces of mail a day, estimated in a two week time period.
"During this average for two weeks, there's a few light days, but there are days when there's well over 1,500 pieces, I know," Mr. Stover said.
He averages about 186 vehicle stops along his 209 mail box route, "and that's not including stop signs," he said. He has 42 retracing stops in which he drives off the route a half-mile to deliver mail and then retraces his path back to the route.
Mr. Stover arrives at the Pleasanton Post Office in the morning around 7:10 a.m. to sort out the mail to 2O9 different boxes. He wraps the individual customer's mail into bundles and straps them together according to the routes. He usually has 16 to 18 different bundles, each weighing approximately 18 to 20 pounds. Mr. Stover loosens the straps to the bundles and as he drives, he pulls along side of the mailbox to deliver the customer's mail.
Since the majority of the mail receivers have their boxes on the right hand side of the road, he sits almost in the middle of the automobile seat to give him more room to reach. In bad weather when snow or mud does not permit him to move up very close to the mailbox, he uses a stick with a clamp on the end of it. He puts the mail in the clamp and working the controls on the end, has an extra three feet to reach. Often times he uses his stick to put the flag down on the mailbox.
"I have always put that flag down but some carriers don't," he said, "Some people can see the box from the house and when they see the flag is down they know I've been there."
Mr. Stover delivers the mail in Buffalo, Sherman and Custer counties. "There are actually dirt roads up in Custer County that he covers each day," said Opal Reese, Pleasanton Postmaster. "They have never been graveled so when it rains, it's a mess."
"I would say the snow, especially the ones that many times you have no visibility, are the times I don't like the route," Mr. Stover said. Most of the time he uses a regular car for his route, but in bad weather he must use a four-wheel drive vehicle. Mr. Stover said there have been a countless number of times he has been stuck in the snow or mud and has had to walk several miles to get help. One particular time he tore out the reverse gear trying to free his car from the snow and another time mud jammed up and froze under the fenders so tightly that the wheels wouldn't turn. He had to jack the vehicle up and knock the mud out with a bar. He said he never had any problems finding someone to help pull him out and is thankful for all the assistance he has received.
Often times Mr. Stover gave help to people along his route. He has assisted people who have been stuck or given rides to those with car breakdowns. At one time he acted the role of a mechanic when the automatic choke was stuck on a woman's car. He fixed it and sent her on her way.
"Some people think all you do is ride around and there's not much work to do but they're wrong," Mr. Stover said. "I would say I enjoyed it more when I was younger because it was easier and only took me three hours, but now with 133 miles it isn't easy, but more like a job.
"I used to visit some, but since the route is so long now I don't have time," Mr. Stover said. "I just stop and pass the time of day and get going. I have to keep on somewhat of a schedule." Mr. Stover is well-known as a mailman by his customers and on his birthday, Oct. 25, several of the people along the route included birthday greeting cards, thanking him for his mail service and friendliness.
"Practically all my customers know me as 'Pat,' said Mr. Stover. "It's been my nickname for over half a century." He told about the time his son, Todd was a teacher at Pleasanton school and drove his mail car to school when his was not running. He said his son's students always called him Mr. Stover and as he drove to the school, one of the students exclaimed, "Oh look there's Mr. Stover driving Pat's car."
Mrs. Reese said one reason why Mr. Stover's route has grown was the abundance of new homes in the Pleasanton area. "There have been 36 new country homes built on Pat's route since 1969 and that's not counting the houses in Pleasanton," she said.
I wish I knew how many pivot systems have gone in since 1969," Mr. Stover said. "I don't think there were any 10 years ago. There might have been a couple but I have no idea."
Another change Pat has witnessed from just 1969 has been the increase in the price of stamps from six cents in 1969 to the present 15 cents.
Mr. Stover will spend his retirement time with his hobbies of hunting, fishing, gardening and travel. He plans to travel to visit his sons, Rodney of Colorado Springs, Colo., Todd and Kim both of Kearney and Kerwin of Troy, Mich., and their families. Mr. Stover will continue to coach and manage the Poole girls' softball team he has worked with for the past 15 years producing a winning team almost every year.
Mr. Stover had talked of retiring before but always changed his mind. It wasn't until one day when he was met at a mailbox by a seven-year-old boy who asked him what he was doing. "I told him I was delivering mail and he asked me 'Is that all you do, don't you ever get to play around?'" Mr. Stover said he didn't say anything, but I got to thinking about it and realized I didn't really do much besides work and decided it was about time to retire."
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