Linda Carey has worked for the United States Postal Service as a carrier since 1982, and in all that time, through wind, rain and severe heat, not only has she persevered, but has done so without causing an accident.
On Thursday, at the Cape Coral Central office, the USPS honored Carey for her more than 30 years of service with the Million Mile Safe Driver Award, presented by the National Safety Council and its highest award for safe driving.
"I was surprised. It's been a long time. We did some figuring and I've been a regular here for 22 years and on this route for nine years," Carey said. "It all adds up no matter how long I've been here."
Carey was awarded a safe-driving pin, a plaque and a cake by the powers that be in a brief early-morning ceremony with her co-workers.
Carey began in the central office in downtown Fort Myers as a substitute before becoming full-time in 1992. She has almost exclusively run the Cape Coral route.
In all her time, she has been involved in only one accident; years ago while still a substitute in Hancock Bridge Parkway. She was not at fault.
Mary-Kay Marchand-Barr, the station manager, has managed Carey once or twice previously, and has known her to be very dependable.
"She's always been regular in attendance and a good representation of the mail service. She's very loyal and dedicated and an honor to have on our team," Marchand-Barr said. "If anybody asks her a question, she'll help any new, developing carrier."
Postmaster Dan Beauchemin hadn't met Carey until the awards presentation, but said it's workers like her that make the USPS the organization it is.
"They are our ambassadors to the community. She's been here for 30 years and has represented us well. We're proud to have her," Beauchemin said.
The National Safety Council recognizes safe-driving performances of professional drivers who have proven their skills in avoiding accidents. It said by far more postal employees have achieved this prestigious honor than drivers from any other business.