Prescher — Rural Carrier of the Month
Shhhhhhh. The white sheet of paper on the door of the Winnebago Post Office lobby warned those entering to pick up their mail.
The message was clear, but not loud. Be quiet! Don’t make too much noise.
Ruth Prescher of rural Delavan is sorting mail in the back room.
She’s going to be honored as the Rural Carrier of the Month and has no idea there’s cake, punch and a lot of well-wishers gathering for a celebration scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
When it was time to get the program started, businessman Chuck Murry was summoned by Lynda Urban, acting Winnebago postmaster, to lure Prescher to the lobby area.
Involving Murry in the ruse seemed only fitting. It was his father Bill who first hired Prescher.
“Ruth. I have some pictures of my grandchildren to show you,” Murry yelled through the mailboxes.
It worked. And, Prescher was completely caught by surprise.
“Oh!” Then Prescher went speechless.
Some of the 30 people in attendance began giving her hugs and offering their congratulations.
There were current co-workers, former co-workers and supervisors, friends, and of course — family members.
Both daughters — Debby Runksmeier and Becky Bump — and their children showed up for the event.
“It turned into an early Mother’s Day visit,” says Debby, who lives in Pequot Lakes, located near Brainerd.
Prescher is the first Winnebago rural carrier, says Urban, to receive the monthly award.
“It’s a pretty big deal in the postal business. She’s very dedicated to her customers, and she’s just a pleasure to work with,” says Urban.
About 2,000 carriers in Minnesota and parts of western Wisconsin were considered for the honor by a task force.
Urban nominated Prescher for the award provided through the Quality of Work Life Employee (QWL/EI) organization, developed to improve the quality of work life for rural carriers.
Christian Elleby and Brad Spooner, postal officials from St. Paul, presented Prescher with a “Carrier of the Month Jacket” and a certificate.
“She shows our ideology to her work that we want our carriers to have … her diligence to her work and a sense of community involvement,” says Elleby.
“She’s gone beyond and above the duty of her job,” adds Spooner.
For 25 years Prescher has been sorting and delivering mail. She estimates handling around 2,000 pieces of mail a day in Winnebago and Delavan.
“There is no junk mail, it’s standard mail,” Prescher says when asked about the increase of useless printed material.
Becky, who lives in Wells, says her mother deserves the award because, “she really likes helping people.”
Ruth Lord perhaps came the farthest to honor her sister-in-law.
“She’s like my sister. I had to come,” says Lord, who lives near Green Bay, Wis.
Call it luck or fate, Prescher was the second choice for a carrier position in Delavan.
She says her husband Paul was asked if he was interested and he said no.
“I told my husband ‘What about me?’ He said, ‘I never thought about you,'” she explained.
In July, Prescher plans to retire. The secret to her longevity?
“I enjoy people and helping them. They will treat you the way you treat them,” she says.
Debby recalls that her mother even earned a nickname from her friends on the school bus — “the mail-mom in the pink car.”
“She delivered mail in used Mary Kay cars. She had a least two,” says Debby.
Prescher will be among 12 monthly winners eligible for Rural Carrier of the Year.