They're like the mailmen. "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." They are newspaper carriers. If a newspaper is published, it must be delivered. No matter the weather, it is their job.

The TIMES NEWS and one of its eight weeklies, are fortunate to have very dedicated carriers. Recently four of them were recognized at the 2010 Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's Luncheon of Champions where they were awarded as the Newspaper Carrier of the Year finalists.

The popular statewide contest has helped newspapers recognize exemplary newspaper carriers since 1959. It emphasizes the positive points of the carrier distribution system. It is a two-part program comprised of local presentations and statewide selection of youth, adult and senior Newspaper Carrier of the Year.

Each participating newspaper may nominate up to two carriers in each of the three divisions: Senior Division-55 or older; Adult Division-19-54; Youth Division-18 years or younger.

Nathan Washburn, 13, a carrier of the TIMES NEWS in Palmerton won third place.

Besides Nathan, Colleen Flynn placed 5th in the Youth Division for the East Penn Press, a weekly newspaper. Logan Eltringham of the TIMES NEWS/Lansford won a Youth honorable mention and Cathi Sherman, TIMES NEWS/Walnutport motor route won an Adult honorable mention.

Nathan, a seventh grader at Palmerton Area Middle School, received a letter from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, informing him that he had won third place.

"I was very happy and excited," he says.

Accompanying Nathan to the luncheon was his mother and father, Peggy and David Washburn and his godmother, Louise Smith. Peggy Washburn, Nathan's mother, says it is very exciting about his win.

"This is an excellent accomplishment and if he has the opportunity to go for it again, we're going to try for #1. But first, second, third or fourth, it doesn't matter. It's all from the heart. And Nathan has heart," says this proud mom.

Nathan won $100 and a plaque. He spent some of the money on a fish tank and fish. He's going to save the rest. The plaque has been hung in the living room in a place of honor.

Nathan thinks he's a good paper boy because he delivers the newspaper on time and isn't rude to his customers.

"I like delivering newspapers because it helps me with my aim for throwing a baseball," he says.

"Carriers are the front line for us. They are the people our customers see on a daily basis and they are essential to the paper. For our young people, being a paper carrier is a good learning tool in learning responsiblity," says Kathy Carpenter, TN circulation manager.

Fred Masenheimer, publisher of the TIMES NEWS and its eight weeklies says, "It is great to see several of our TIMES NEWS carriers do so well in this contest. Many newspapers have gone to all adult newspaper carriers but at the TIMES NEWS we still believe being an entrepreneur and running your own business is great experience for our youth carrier girls and boys. We would also like to take this opportunity to salute the parents of our carriers because most often Mom and Dad play a key role in the supervision of their children on their routes. We are proud to be able to put our reputation on the backs of these young people who see to it you get your TIMES NEWS each day."