Gary Schaefer retiring - United Parcel Service carrier in greater Philip area for over 35 years

"This has been such a great community. Everyone has treated me well. It's so hard to put into words ... after making so many friends here," said Gary Schaefer.

Schaefer began as a delivery man September 15, 1975, for United Parcel Post. He originally drove the Murdo/Presho area route, but by December of that year, he was responsible for a delivery route that included Philip. His last day with UPS, after always having Philip on his route, will be Friday, October 29.

Center supervisor Jason Heisler said, "Gary has been a good, model employee. I know that the people of Philip will miss him. He gives service with reliability and always finds a way to make it happen."

A resident of Pierre, Schaefer has stuck with a route that has seen transitions because of UPS continually working for route efficiency. Schaefer began with a UPS delivery area that was from Hayes to Mission Ridge, from the Cheyenne River south to the interstate. Around 1985, he covered an area that was centered by Milesville, Philip and Cactus Flat. Around 2008, that route was realigned to radiate from the communities of Hayes, Midland, Philip and Cactus Flat.

Not just his clients have become his friends, but co-workers as well.

Center manager Cary Schonley pointed out, "Gary is a member of our Circle of Honor group, drivers who have not had an accident for at least 25 years. Only nine percent of all UPS drives achieve that. An accident could be sliding on winter ice or it could be a little scratch on the vehicle. Gary has over 32 years of safe driving. It's been great having Gary work for us. Gary said that he wants to spend some time seeing his grandchildren and playing senior league softball."

Schaefer said, "I plan on doing some golfing, doing volunteer work - all kinds, and playing in some national softball tournaments around the country.

The position left open by Schaefer will be filled by someone inside UPS bidding for the route.