A Pemberville woman and independent contractor for The Blade has been named the 2017 Ohio Adult Carrier of the Year by the Ohio News Media Association.
Julie Held, 49, has delivered Blade newspapers for 19 years. Her three routes now cover Pemberville, the Otterbein Retirement Home, Luckey, and some areas around Gibsonburg, Helena, Bettsville, and Kansas, Ohio.
“It’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere, but I enjoy that,” she said. “It’s very peaceful.”
Mrs. Held will receive her award, which includes a monetary gift and a trophy, at a reception Thursday in Columbus.
Carriers are judged on their route management, personal and community service, and recommendations from their customers and district managers. Mrs. Held, who delivers approximately 1,675 papers a week with minimal complaints, beat out five other nominees from newspapers around the state.
Bob Borer, a district manager for The Blade, said he nominated Mrs. Held because “she’s good at what she does, simply put.”
“She takes care of her customers and cares about what she does,” he said.
He noted he doesn’t often get to interact with Mrs. Held because he receives very few complaints from her customers and instead has to spend his time addressing issues on other routes. She is one of a select group of carriers he has worked with in 30 years that requires very little management.
“They just take care of their customers,” Mr. Borer said. “They know how to deal with the adversity that comes up when you’re doing this job.”
Mrs. Held said she became a carrier in December, 1998, to earn extra income while still being home for her children during the day. She enjoys the early hours and being independent. Her children have occasionally accompanied her on deliveries, and her husband and son help out when she needs it.
“I’ve been able to have some one-on-one time with my kids,” she said. “That’s been a gift. It’s hard to find time like that in a busy household.”
She said customer service is paramount, and some customers become like family. A few Otterbein residents even knitted blankets for her when she was expecting her fourth child.
“The customers are really appreciative,” Mrs. Held said. “They look forward to their paper, and I realize that, so it’s important to me.”
Mrs. Held said she was surprised to hear she won the award, having participated mainly because she “just thought it would be fun.”
“It’s nice to be recognized. I’m just a little overwhelmed,” she said. “I couldn’t stop smiling. I was very happy.”
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