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Elk Grove Citizen

Hey, Mister Postman!

Sep 23, 2020 12:00AM ● By Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

Bluff Court residents ambushed and applauded USPS deliverer Kenny Villanueva in gratitude for his dedication.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Arriving recently with mail for a quiet Carmichael cul-de-sac, US Post Office veteran Kenny Villanueva got the surprise of his 32-year career. He beheld Bluff Court mail boxes decked with balloons. “Thank you, Kenny,” signs dotted front yards. “I almost cried,” said the mailman. “These people have been my friends for years, but I never expected such a welcome.”

The Airforce veteran and son of Philippine immigrants has served this 95608 street and adjacent blocks faithfully for six years. He rides proudly among the Post Office’s “Million-Mile Club” – nationally honored for driving his van for more than 30 years without accident. Through his duties, he’s got to recognize hundreds of customers, kids, dogs and vehicles. He knows when birthdays and anniversaries fall. He’s congratulated high school graduates and delivered much anticipated college admission letters. He’s commiserated when sympathy cards fill boxes and rejoiced when pink or blue balloons announce family increases.

Of late, like thousands of Sacramento deliverers, Villanueva has been challenged by heat waves and smoke-filled air. He’s among front-line servers who cannot shelter in place due to COVID risks and his duties include training postal newcomers. Add to that huge volumes of parcels due to an on-line shopping explosion and he often works a 12-hour day. Bluff Court customers nevertheless note that his wide smile never droops.

Marianne Mueggenburg planned his VIP reception. “On a 110-degree day, I looked out my window and there was our Kenny,” she says. “He seemed to be going about his deliveries with such grace. I know it’s his job, but he does it so well. He talks to us all; he even talks to our dogs. I just felt we had to do something to make him feel appreciated.” Other Bluff Court residents were soon on board.

“Kenny’s the friendliest man you’d ever know,” says Cherie Simmons. “Sometimes he leaves nice little notes in our mail for us. He’s always upbeat and positive.”

Agrees Warner Seargeant: “Kenny gives 100 percent no matter what. He’s a blessing to our little court and everyone he delivers to.” Synchronizing calendars, the neighbors printed signs and festooned mail boxes for a roadside ambush. On the day, the hero and his white van rounded the corner and came to a bemused halt.

“Bluff Court took me by surprise,” says Villanueva. “I went from door to door thanking everyone personally. Then I took the balloons and signs home to show my daughter. My customers are wonderful people. They’re part of my family and I’m part of theirs, but it’s not every day I’m made to feel so special.”