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Through rain, sleet and snow - carrier walks into retirement

Beckman Motschenbacher walks back from a home in northwest Wadena with more mail to deliver on his daily route. Motschenbacher said he was greeted with hugs, smiles and warm wishes on his last day working for the United States Post Office in Wadena. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
Beckman Motschenbacher looks through mail to properly sort it on his way across Wadena's northwest corner. Friday, Sept. 28 was his last day on the job after 16 years of delivering the mail in Wadena. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal 2 / 2

It seemed fitting the last day Beckman Motschenbacher reported to his mail carrier route in Wadena was an unusually cold day.

For the past 16 years, Motschenbacher has been covering the northwest corner of Wadena, and about an hour in the northeast side, walking about 6 miles a day through, rain, sleet, snow, heat and everything else in order to do his job with the United States Post Office. Despite the unwelcome cold that even featured moments of sleet and snow flakes, it was hard to see past the smile on Motschenbacher's face. He was already celebrating his retirement.

Motschenbacher turns 65 in February and said his bones were telling him he had slipped and fallen a few too many times on the icy paths he has to travel. It was always the weather that made the job difficult. He never had a problem with dogs as he had a little more control over them. No surprise the dogs liked him as co-workers said he was known for offering treats to the canines he encountered.

But he was also known for offering treats to the many children on his route.

"I have 'em lined up on Second Street like I'm the ice cream man," Motschenbacher said laughing.

It's those daily encounters with folks that appreciate his service that made it an enjoyable job for him all those years.

"When you like a job, it's easy to say positive things about it, I say it from my heart," Motschenbacher said.

Those that worked with Motschenbacher recall his daily cheerful attitude. Kathy Bernstetter, a clerk at the Wadena Post Office, was one of those and said he would be greatly missed, not just by his co-workers, but by all those along his route, dogs included.

Motschenbacher's encounters in his final days delivering were filled with great goodbyes.

"I can't tell you the gifts and the hugs and the tears," Beckman said. "It's a wonderful Wadena."

Motschenbacher said it was a great experience and considered Wadena the best place for him to retire. While excited to retiree, he was unsure what not working would be like. On Friday, it felt like he was graduating from high school.

"There's not a lot of people that can say they can retire, it's just that kind of a world, so I'm very fortunate," Motschenbacher said.

While he won't be headed to work again, he does have plans of spending more time with his grandson. And he'll certainly be thinking of his wife who will still be hard at work next week. He has mentioned (jokingly) to his wife of 32 years, Michelle, to try not to wake him up in the morning when she goes to work.