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Postal carrier earns rare million

Postal carrier earns rare million
Postal carrier earns rare million
Forrest Timberlake Jr. of Corydon sorts mail before beginning his route Friday. He received the U.S. Postal Service's Million Mile award, representing 30 years of accident-free service. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

A Corydon mail carrier was honored last week for a rare accomplishment.
Forrest E. Timberlake Jr., 51, received the Million Mile award Friday morning from Postmaster Carmen L. Proffitt.
‘This achievement is one that is earned by years of excellent driving skills and a daily conscious effort to be aware of all the possible hazards that are part of the mail carrier’s duties,’ Proffitt said.
The award recognizes Timberlake for his driving record as a postal carrier with ‘no preventable accidents.’
Timberlake, who was surprised with a reception Friday morning, said he thought he had missed being eligible for the award two days earlier when his vehicle was struck by another car near the end of his route.
Proffitt said that Timberlake was still eligible for the award, which excludes accidents that ‘are not his fault.’ The driver of the other car also told Proffitt that the crash probably would have been worse if Timberlake had not done all he could to help avoid it.
Mail carriers ‘almost always’ have some ‘minor’ crash that prevents them from getting this award, Proffitt said.
‘It’s a rare accomplishment,’ she said. ‘You have to be aware of what you’re doing.’
The Corydon Post Office has had only one other carrier receive this award. William (Bud) Eckart, who began his career with U.S. Postal Service in 1950, was honored with the Million Mile award in February 1991.
Timberlake said his father, the late Forrest E. Timberlake Sr., who was a Corydon mail carrier for 25 years until retiring in 1987, encouraged him to take the civil service exam that led to his hiring by the USPS. Timberlake soon followed in his father’s footsteps, starting as a substitute carrier on Feb. 2, 1974, then gaining full-time status on March 30, 1985.
The Corydon Post Office was located on Elm Street then.
Timberlake delivers mail in the northeast part of the Corydon district, covering 48 miles everyday but Sunday.
While he’s been able to avoid any crashes that were his fault, Timberlake said, ‘Everybody has close calls, especially on gravel roads.’
Dogs running at-large create problems, but his favorite story to tell is of the time a llama was running alongside his vehicle. Timberlake said he did a double take and thought, ‘That’s a damn llama.’
Friends asked him what the llama said. Timberlake quipped, ‘He probably thought, that’s a damn mail carrier.’
Surprising Timberlake by showing up for the presentation were his wife, the former Nancy Hoehn; their children, Shena, and Scott; his mother, Delores (Dode) Timberlake; his sister, Jenny Pinaire, and sister-in-law, Shirley Beanblossom; an aunt and uncle, Virginia and George McCoy, and friends, Mike Sphire and Bill Thomas. Phyllis Chitwood, who retired from the post office, was there with many of Timberlake’s co-workers and postmasters from other post offices. Timberlake’s brother, Steve, couldn’t attend but called him on his cell phone.

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