With finalists in all three categories in the Pennsylvania Newspapers Association 2011 Newspaper Carrier of the Year competition, Pencor Services, Inc. has reason to be proud.

When the dust settled, Tom Melochick, a carrier for the TIMES NEWS in Brockton, earned a second place in the Adult Division; while Jessica Warnkin, also a carrier for the TIMES NEWS in Lehighton, earned a fifth place in the Youth Carrier Division; and Alma Clauser, a carrier for the Allentown Whitehall/Coplay Press, was presented a fourth place in the Senior Carrier Division.

There were also several Honor Carriers who were nominated: Avery Frohnheiser and Devon Steigerwalt, TIMES NEWS; Darren Labenberg and Drew Labenberg, East Penn Press; all in the Youth Carrier division; and Micah Navitsky, TIMES NEWS, Adult Carrier.

In addition to printing the six-day daily afternoon TIMES NEWS newspaper for thousands of customers, Pencor offers eight weekly newspapers which also are printed at the TN Printing complex in Lehighton. The Whitehall/Coplay Press and East Penn Press are two of those weekly newspapers.

The awards were presented by Larry Boggs, circulation director of the Beaver County Times and a board member of the PNA, during a the Luncheon of Champions held at the Hershey Country Club, Hershey.

When you consider that these carriers are among the thousands of carriers in the state who brave winter's icy conditions and tough out the excruciating heat to make sure their customers receive their newspaper on time, there was a lot to celebrate.

"Our carriers are out in all kinds of weather, delivering our papers to their customers' doors," said Boggs. "They are the people who are out early in the morning, and are the watchdogs of the community. We owe them our gratitude for a job well done because without them our papers wouldn't make our customers happy and we want happy customers."

Melochick was nominated by some of his 80 customers who noted his personal touches. Not only does he deliver the paper to each customer's door, he takes out the garbage for the elderly and often stops to throw balls with the children and frisbees to the dogs while walking along his route. In his spare time, Tom assists Toys for Tots.

Melochick has been a carrier for 11 years in Brockton, plus he has a 1,200 paper driver route and he works five days a week in the TIMES NEWS production department making sure that each paper is stuffed with circulars.

After Melochick heard his name announced, he said it was an honor to be selected. He said he does the extra services because he knows that it is hard for some of his customers because of their age.

Melochick started his career as a TIMES NEWS carrier when he began delivering a small route when his neighbor became ill who had delivered the TIMES NEWS. Then he picked up a bundle route about a month later and then was offered an inserting position in the office.

Melochick also helps deliver a Japanese newspaper that is printed at the TIMES NEWS plant to Queens, New York, once a week. His job is to unload the truck.

"This job gives me a lot of freedom," he said. "I enjoy all phases of my job, but I especially like seeing my walking customers. They make my day."

For 16-year old Warnkin, delivering the TIMES NEWS to her 21 customers gives her the funds to pay her cell phone bill. Warnkin has been a TIMES NEWS carrier since she was in seventh grade. Despite her busy schedule as a high school student where she is a varsity cheerleader, Warnkin always takes the time to give personal service to her TIMES NEWS customers. She never has complaints because she makes sure each paper is delivered promptly.

"All my customers talk to me," said Warnkin. "I get along with everyone."

As part of her summer, Warnkin also baby-sat her two cousins.

"I don't get paid for baby-sitting, but it's good; its family."

Warnkin will be a junior at Lehighton Area High School in the fall and she loves to bake and do photography.

"I might go to school for culinary arts or photography," she said.

Warnkin is the daughter of Carol Borger.

The third winner is Clauser, who has delivered the weekly Whitehall/Coplay Press for the past six years with her husband, Ken Clauser.

Ken and Alma had delivered phone books for 17 years, with Alma as the runner. That background prepared Clauser for her duties as a senior carrier.

"I am extremely proud of my carriers," said Kathy Carpenter, circulation manager for the TIMES NEWS. "They give exemplary service to their customers and having three finalists shows the quality of our carriers."

Fred Masenheimer, publisher of the TIMES NEWS, said that the newspaper carriers are very important to the TIMES NEWS.

"We rely on them everyday to deliver to our subscribers the work of a lot of dedicated people who do their best to give our readers the news about their community that affects their daily lives," added Masenheimer. "Without the carriers doing a good job our work would go to waste and the information would not get to our readers on a timely basis. To have three of our carriers going up against hundreds of newspaper carriers all across Pennsylvania and to achieve this kind of recognition for the great job they do is very rewarding for all of us at the TIMES NEWS. We congratulate them and thank them for a job well done."

Each of the finalists received a certificate and passes to Hershey Park, plus Melochick received a $200 award for achieving second place in the competition.