ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Attending the PNA Luncheon of Champions are, from left, Bridget Vilenica, chairperson, PNA Circulation Committee; TIMES NEWS carrier Deborah Kurz; and Rebecca Wraight, acting circulation office manager, TIMES NEWS.
A TIMES NEWS carrier was selected as one of the best senior carriers in the state by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation.
Deborah Kurz, 61, of Tamaqua, was named third overall senior carrier during a "Luncheon of Champions" held at the Hershey Country Club in Hershey.
Kurz, who has worked a total of 28 years as a newspaper carrier, has spent the last eight years with the TIMES NEWS. And all of those miles over the years were done on foot, as Kurz doesn't drive.
"I love people and the paper route gets me out and about," said Kurz. "I start my paper route by counting the papers, dividing them up and heading out.
"If time permits, I'll even stop and give doggie treats to a few dozen dogs along my route," she added. "The people are always so nice to me. Many even offer me a cold or warm drink as I pass."
Kurz added that, on occasion, she brings in mail for people who are away or puts recyclables to the curb.
"I stay in contact with most of my customers, no matter where they travel," she remarked.
The longtime carrier said that she has learned so much from her customers.
"Some even prayed for me while I was in the hospital," added Kurz.
Carrying newspapers has become a family tradition as her daughter currently has a paper route and her husband had a paper route when he was alive.
"My kids opted to deliver papers during their school years. They all loved it," she remarked.
Any free time she has is spent with the fire company's auxiliary, as well as gardening and doing arts and crafts.
"We are happy Deborah earned third place," said Rebecca Wraight, TIMES NEWS acting circulation office manager. "She had big competition. Deborah is a great carrier. We rarely have issues from her route.
"Kurz represents the face of the TIMES NEWS," added Wraight.
Several other TIMES NEWS carriers were awarded honorable mentions in their respective categories: Youth Carriers are Shawn Gades and Bridget Smith; Senior Carriers are Linda Everett and Joanne Lewis.
Fred Masenheimer, publisher of the TIMES NEWS, said the newspaper carriers are very important.
"We rely on them every day 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," said 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."
Masenheimer added, "To have our carriers going up against hundreds of newspaper carriers all across Pennsylvania and to achieve this kind of recognition for the great job Deb Kurz does is very rewarding for all of us at the TIMES NEWS. We congratulate her, as well as the carriers who earned honorable mentions, and thank them for a job well done."