South River mail carriers receive safety awards

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(left to right) South River Mail Carriers Bhaskar Parmar, Timothy Gregory and Brian Hatala holding up their "Million Mile Award" plaques for each safely driving and delivering residents mail more than three decades on June 21 at the Main Post Office. VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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South River Mail Carrier Bhaskar Parmar receiving the Million Miles Award from USPS Northern NJ District District Manager Michael Deignan on June 21 at the Main Post Office. VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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South River mail carriers showcasing their awards for their commitment to safe driving on June 21 during the awards ceremony at the Main Post Office. VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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(left to right) South River Mail Carriers Bhaskar Parmar, Timothy Gregory and Brian Hatala holding up their "Million Mile Award" plaques for each safely driving and delivering residents mail more than three decades on June 21 at the Main Post Office. VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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South River Mail Carrier Bhaskar Parmar receiving the Million Miles Award from USPS Northern NJ District District Manager Michael Deignan on June 21 at the Main Post Office. VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF
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South River mail carriers showcasing their awards for their commitment to safe driving on June 21 during the awards ceremony at the Main Post Office. VASHTI HARRIS/STAFF

SOUTH RIVER–Standing attentive in their light blue United States Postal Service uniforms, 11 South River letter carriers were awarded for achieving a combined 222 years of safe driving.

The National Safety Council’s prestigious Million Mile Award is presented to professional drivers for operating a motor vehicle on the job for more than one million miles without a preventable accident. Reaching this unique milestone requires 30-plus years of service and unwavering attention to safety, according to a statement provided by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

The USPS Northern New Jersey District’s District Manager, Michael Deignan, presented South River letter carriers Timothy Gregory, Brian Hatala, Jeffery Mozeiko and Bhaskar Parmar with the National Safety Council’s “Million Mile Award” during a ceremony on June 21 at the Main Post Office, located at 44 Obert St.

Mozeiko was not in attendance during the award ceremony.

“I think it’s a feat that not many units accomplish, not many carriers accomplish it … to have 11 carriers is an amazing achievement in itself,” Deignan said. “There is about a 16,500 [person] population here and there are a lot of parents in there that I am sure very much appreciate the way that they take care of the neighborhood and safeguard it.”

The four South River million milers have a total of 129 years of safe driving, according to a prepared statement from the USPS.

“It’s a great achievement to be safe for the last 30 something years,” Gregory said.

Parmar and Hatala have worked for the USPS for 30 years. Gregory has worked for USPS for 33 years and Mozeiko has worked at USPS for 36 years, according to information provided by USPS.

For the award ceremony, Deignan also presented safe driving pins and award certificates to South River letter carriers Fernando Rocha, Darianne Hawkins, Sam Lam, Caffin Cheung, Michael Andrasz, Maurice Jones and Kyle Richardson.

Rocha was not in attendance during the awards ceremony.

The USPS Northern New Jersey District Human Resources Manager, Michael Rizzolo, announced, “You have an excellent approach here to safety and I just want to extend my personal thank you. It’s not an easy feat to have a lot of years of safe driving. I see all the accidents in the human resources department, we have safety under that umbrella so we see the accidents that come in and it’s appreciated that you guys take safety so seriously.”

Rizzolo reported that there are 13,000 employees in the USPS Northern New Jersey District.

Deignan said, “I wish I could bottle up the atmosphere of the safety culture you have in this building. I could tell from the minute I walked in. I can see with everybody’s shoes right, you are all in uniformed shoes, you all know how to run a good unit along with your postmaster, and I really appreciate that and thank you.”

South River Postmaster Bridget Zelinsky, USPS Northern New Jersey District Safety Specialist Maria Luisa Villanueva and National Association of Letter Carriers Union Branch No. 444 President Garrison Lange also attended the award ceremony.

When asked how residents can help their local mail carrier, Hatala said residents keeping their dogs out of the way when carriers are delivering the mail is very important.

“Most people are fair as it is, most people when it’s hot they will leave water [and] most people are pretty good,” Gregory said. “It’s a nice gesture on a hot day, leaving some cold water.”

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.