"That was a mean winter, but I made it. That's what counts,” says LaVonne Milek.
As a mail carrier, she’s been making it on this route in Arcadia step by step, block by block, for forty years.
"I've done it for a long time,” says Milek.
What started as a part-time job became a life-long career.
"At that time there were a lot more openings because the boys were in Vietnam," says Milek.
LaVonne says there's plenty of perks.
"You can be outside,” says Milek. “You're almost like your own boss. You're responsible for whatever you do."
And not rain, nor sleet, nor snow—nor feisty pets—has stopped her for four decades.
"Oh, yeah! I don't think there's a mail carrier that hasn't run into dog problems, yeah!" she says.
But she says it’s worn her down a little.
"I don't know if I'll put in another winter, though, like I did this winter. It really was a struggle,” says Milek.
Whether it's the weather or the heavy load, she never lets anything get her down—delivering a smile along with the letters.
"Oh, my gosh, I tell ya! The people are just so nice,” she says.
Even if the piles have thinned in this digital age, she says sending and delivering mail will never die.
"It's a part of the lifestyle. It'd be sad to see that not be here,” she says. “I think it'll go on and on and on."
On and on—just like her career.
Lavonne says she still hasn't decided when she's retiring, but she says it may come soon. However, she says she doesn’t regret a single day working for the postal service.