After 28 years, Barbara Yauney is retiring from carrying mail to Lake Point.
The Lake Point community held a celebration for Yauney on Aug. 31 at the heart of Lake Point — the “Welcome to Lake Point” sign.
Friends, family, Yauney’s customers and staff from the Tooele Post Office showed up to show their support for Yauney’s 28-years of continuous service.
There was cake and lots of hugs given.
Yauney’s career began in April of 1994 after moving to Tooele County from Salt Lake.
“I was looking for a career, something part-time, just a few days a week, because our kids were little,” Yauney said. “I had a brother-in-law who worked for the Postal Service and he did really well and made good money…So I said, ‘Okay, let’s see what this is like’ and I applied.”
In the 90s, before a lot of the present-day technology, Yauney’s job duties included arriving at the Tooele Post Office around 6 a.m. where she would sort through mail and organize it by house number.
After organizing the mail into mail trays, Yauney would load up her mail truck and drive to Lake Point where she could begin her route several hours later.
Each day she would travel the same route to keep everything organized.
“We did the same route each day so that the customers knew what time to expect their mail,” Yauney said.
To keep from getting bored, Yauney would entertain herself by noticing how unique each home and property was.
“Every mailbox was a little bit different,” Yauney explained. “Every house was a little bit different. I used to look at the yards and new things people were doing and see the things that were different. There were a lot of people with farms who raised horses, turkeys, and geese, so each residence was different.”
It is well known that mail carriers and dogs don’t get along very well, but Yauney learned to combat this issue.
“I knew if I was going to have to interact with a certain dog on a daily basis, I would have to figure out how to make it work,” she said. “I would keep dog treats in my truck…Then it kind of turned into where the dogs expected treats every time.”
Besides her good relationship with the neighborhood dogs, Yauney enjoyed making friendships with Lake Point residents.
“My favorite thing was the people that I got to know,” she said. “I was out there for so long that I felt like these people were family, like somebody that I’ve known forever…. When you let people know that you care, you open up and it becomes more than just a job. You’re more than just a mail carrier.”
They would always look out for me too,” Yauney continued talking about her customers. “It was like they saw me as family too. There were so many times that if my truck broke down, or I got a flat tire, or if I was stopped on the side of the road and not moving, there would be so many people saying, ‘Are you okay? Do I need to call somebody?’”
One of the job’s challenges was how much there was to learn.
“In the post office, there are a lot of acronyms,” Yauney said. “I would come home and be like, ‘There was a lot of DPS mail today.’ And my kids were like, ‘What?’ It’s funny, because it just becomes part of the language after a while.”
“Mail carrying is also a very physical job,” Yauney continued. “I didn’t realize how physical it was. You are on your feet most of the entire day. If you drive a truck, the only time you sit down is when you are in your truck. In the morning while everything is being sorted, you stand… There’s a lot of standing and walking around…That was a little bit of a struggle but your body gets used to it.”
Another challenge was the weather.
While she was working each day, Yauney would have several individuals stop to talk to her.
“People would see me as a mail carrier knowing the town and ask me for directions,” Yauney said. “A lot of the time new addresses wouldn’t be on Google Maps yet. I had FedEx and UPS drivers asking me where things were a lot.”
“People would also come and ask me if I had seen their dog and I had to say, ‘Yeah, over there,’” she continued.
Yauney recently overcame a battle with cancer and had to take some time off of work.
“I like to say that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” she said, quoting a Bible verse.
During her retirement, Yauney plans to travel and spend more time with her grandchildren.
She also plans to spend more time gardening.
“I love to plant flowers and vegetables,” she said. “I just love to make my yard pretty. It was kind of hard working full time. The only time I felt like doing yard work before was during the weekends.”
Yauney also enjoys doing yoga and setting positive intentions for the day.
Yauney wants to thank her customers, family, and friends for their support.