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Mail carrier recognized for safe career

May. 10, 2013 @ 11:33 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Postal carriers deliver mail in rain, sleet or snow. But the weather is the least of their worries.

Driving a mail truck six days a week requires patience, focus and the ability to drive defensively while operating a vehicle that has its steering wheel on the right side instead of the left.

"You have to be alert at all times," said Mark Mullens, a 35-year-veteran who received the Million Mile Award on Friday from the National Safety Council. "It's hard. You've got to stay focused."

In his career, Mullens has never had a preventable accident where he's been at fault. And that's a testament to the job that he and his colleagues do day in and day out.

"If you slip up a little bit, you could be in an accident," he said.

The Huntington resident started back in 1978 as a rural carrier. He transferred to a city route in 1980. He said after the presentation at the postal distribution center on Virginia Avenue that this is probably his last year. Driving that many miles takes a lot out of a person, he said.

"I don't guess many people have this (award), cause most don't stay as long as I have," Mullens said.

Postmaster Lucas Peek also presented safety awards for about 40 other carriers who have not had a preventable accident. He said recognizing safety is important because of the role carriers play in the community. They look out for themselves and those around them.

"I think it should help the public recognize what the post office does for them," Peek said.

Among those who received a safety pin was Michelle Shaw, who has been a carrier for 11 years, the past five in downtown Huntington. She said that the business district route has additional safety challenges, such as multiple lanes, vehicle and bike traffic, more pedestrians and parking issues.

"You have to be aware of your surroundings," Shaw said.

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