BORDEN-CARLETON - Leona Quigley pulls on her helmet and zips up her warm winter coat before heading out the door with her bicycle and a heavy load of Journal Pioneer newspapers.
The sun has yet to rise over Borden-Carleton as Quigley pedals briskly down the street, pausing to carefully place a newspaper at a reader’s door or put it securely in a box so it will be there to greet the household when it awakes.
“I became a newspaper carrier in 1976 because I wanted to get out and make friends,” Quigley said, with a smile.
After 41 years of working tirelessly to bring the newspaper to her community, Quigley, who has a speech disorder, has received more than her share of compliments, not to mention gifts at Christmastime.
“I have some customers already awake and they say to me, ‘you are a very nice lady to get up so early in the mornings and get here in good time so I can have my coffee and read my paper at the same time,’ and that makes me feel good,” she told a reporter who helps produce the newspaper she delivers.
“People got to know me and invite me into their homes for a coffee or hot chocolate on a cold day.”
It’s no easy task to get the news to customers on time through driving rain or snow, bitter cold or scorching heat.
“Rain or shine, and even in severe snowstorms I am out delivering the papers. The worst time of year is winter because you can’t see with the snow and the plows are on the road. It can become very dangerous.”
Quigley said, “I walk through snow that’s as deep as my waist and sometimes get stuck and have to dig my way out. It’s hard going. And on windy days the wind takes away your breath, and I have to turn around to catch a breath.”
But she has never looked back.
Debbie Leard says her aunt Leona is a fixture in the community.
“A lot of people depend on her for the news, knowing that the papers will be there. Even with delivering the flyers she will go the extra mile.
“If there is someone who lives way down by the beach, she will take their flyers to the local store so they can pick them up. She’s great at her job and everyone in the community loves her and she loves them right back,” said Leard.
But Quigley says age is catching up to her and due to a change in her circumstances, she has decided to give up her route at the end of December.
“I might be moving to another place and won’t be close to people, so that’s why I’m giving it up after Christmas and this time of year (newspapers) are so heavy to deliver. I make one, two, three trips… I will miss (the customers), but they have told me to come back for a coffee and cookie and a chat. And I can’t say anything bad about them because they are all very nice.”