By BRAD ROBERTS
Courier Staff Writer
Vernelle Pettijohn started carrying rural mail for the Axtell Post Office in 1973, first as a substitute driver for 7 years, then full time in 1980. With accrued sick-leave time figured in, her years of service total up to 40 years next month.
Her last official day on her route will be October 1st.
She has driven the same route, which is 4 or 5 miles wide and approximately 17 miles south, almost every day the post office has been open. Her daily route covers 106 miles.
“‘My people’ on my route and the people I’ve worked with have all been really nice,” she says.
She has enjoyed many aspects of the job including watching wildlife – Pettijohn has been an avid bird watcher for years. Her most unusual wildlife find was probably a Scissor-tailed flycatcher, which is more at home in Kansas, but drifted north into her route.
The Postal Service also works quarterly with the Nebraska Game and Parks in keeping track of pheasant populations along the routes they drive.
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