In recognition of and appreciation for his outstanding service and dedication to his job, Kenneth (Pete) Peterson, a contracted route carrier, was presented the Eagle Spirit Award on Nov. 8, at the Oakhurst Post Office.
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," is a motto that Peterson has taken to heart for 20-plus years.
Postal District Manager Barbara Plunkett presented Peterson with this award in recognition of his providing service that exemplifies the Postal Services commitment to excellent customer service.
Only six Eagle Spirit Awards were presented in the Western Region, which covers from the Dakotas westward. Peterson was the only award recipient in California.
"It's pretty exciting that an office would have such a high level of pride, that a carrier can go more than 20 years without mis-carrying mail," Plunkett said. "I'm very proud of the exceptional customer service that Mr. Peterson has provided all these years. With 500,000 postal employees countrywide, this award is a very big deal."
Post office staff gathered around as Peterson, who was humbled and grateful, proudly received the plaque.
"I never expected anything like this," Peterson said. "I've enjoyed every minute of the past 24 years, and believe there are many people who deserve this more than me. I've worked with several postmasters through the years and have been inspired by how they have stayed on top of things. It's made me want to do all I can to support them."
Peterson is not only the sole California recipient, but Oakhurst Postmaster Holly Baker believes this is the first time an Oakhurst postal employee has received this recognition.
"The Oakhurst Post Office is very proud of Pete," said Baker. "He epitomizes outstanding customer service."
It was Baker who nominated Peterson. The nomination passed through district offices before reaching Washington, D.C. headquarters for final approval.
Peterson admitted that he already has a spot picked out to hang his award "one where everyone can see it," he added.
For now, it will hang in the Oakhurst Post Office until Peterson decides to take it home for that special spot he has reserved.