Earlier this year, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe honored the five longest-serving employees in Santa Ana District, who collectively represent more than 250 years of service.
“The steadfast dedication of these employees is what the Postal Service is all about,” said the PMG. District Manager Gerry Ahern introduced the employees, reviewing their respective 50-plus years of service before presenting each of them with a commemorative plaque and certificate honoring their contributions to the Postal Service.
Charles “Mac” McDaniel — 54 Years of Service
Charles “Mac” McDaniel has been at the top of the letter carrier seniority list at the Garden Grove Post Office for more than 16 years. At 79, he has sturdy legs, an easy stride.
Born in Marshall, IL, in 1932, McDaniel spent most of his childhood in an orphanage in Terra Haute, IN — a place he remembers surprisingly fondly. “We had good care and discipline,” he said.
After four years in the Navy, McDaniel and his wife left the east coast and headed for sunny southern California. He began carrying mail in Garden Grove in 1961 and has hardly missed a day, accumulating more than 4,600 hours of unused sick leave.
Daniel Rodarte — 53 Years of Service
Daniel Rodarte was born in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. He began carrying mail in 1959 at what was then called the Pico Station.
Rodarte inspired many over the years. When 46-year-old Pico Rivera Letter Carrier Antonio Vidrio was a small child, he remembers running to his front door to greet Daniel Rodarte as he arrived with the day’s mail. “I never thought that years later I’d be carrying mail side-by side with him,” Vidrio observed.
“He’s an amazing man and a great carrier,” said supervisor Halina Pietrzak. “He still walks his route and never asks for help,” she added.
Rodarte, 73, is in great shape and has accumulated over 1,300 hours of unused sick leave. He holds a 10th Degree Black Belt in Karate, teaches the martial art Muay Thai (a form of kick boxing) and promotes matches around southern California.
Lawrence “Larry” Miller — 50 Years of Service
Fullerton Letter Carrier Larry Miller recalls that when he started working for the Postal Service, JFK was president. “I never thought I’d reach 50 years of service,” he said, “but I’ve been healthy and I just kept going.” Miller has more than 3,600 hours of unused sick leave.
Miller has been carrying mail on the same route since 1983. He’s earned the prestigious National Safety Council’s Million Mile Club status.
Born in 1942 in Santa Monica, CA, Miller moved to Fullerton with his family when he was eight years old. After high school, he worked part time for the Post Office Department. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Cal State Fullerton, after which he carried mail for about nine months before joining the Navy.
Robert Nicolini — 50 Years of Service
There is no mistaking one thing about Santa Ana District Time and Attendance Clerk Robert Nicolini. He is very devoted to his wife. In fact, she is the reason he ended up working for the Postal Service. They were living in Iowa, where Nicolini was born and raised, but his wife’s health required that they move to a warmer climate and they eventually settled in southern California. In 1962, Nicolini began his postal career as a scheme clerk at Bristol Annex in Santa Ana. Later he worked as a weigh master at Industrial Station, and as a postal source data system technician, before joining the Time and Attendance team. At 74, Nicolini has no plans to retire. “I do like the job,” he said.
Alberto “Al” Lopez — 50 Years of Service
Upland, CA, Letter Carrier Alberto Lopez was born a long time ago — he doesn’t want to say exactly how long — in the same community he now serves.
After graduating from Upland High in 1961, Lopez joined the Air Force, where his job as a clerk included postal duties. So it was a natural move to join the Postal Service when he returned home after his tour of duty in France.
He started as a clerk/carrier, distributing mail in the morning, then casing a route and delivering it in the afternoon. In 1969, he began carrying mail full time. “I really enjoy the job,” says Lopez. “I like the people on my route. When you treat people nice, they treat you nice in return.”