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Winter poses challenges for mail carriers

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Scott Mullen has delivered mail in Bozeman for a decade. Snow or shine, neighbors will see him walking his route. He walks close to 11 miles every shift.

Cold conditions are not the only challenges he will face during the winter. He will also have to traverse slick and icy sidewalks.

"Doing the mail I always look ahead. I know once I hit that, I kind of slow down, and I have a little more bend in my knee," Mullen said.

Transitioning to different surfaces requires a lot of adapting from Mullen.

"I do residential areas in the morning, then I do downtown in the afternoon. I have to change my shoes three times a day," Mullen said.

In the icy, residential areas he wears Yaktrax. Underneath that is a rubber boot layered on top of his regular boots. Sometimes Mullen creates his own path by walking through yards. It can be safer than trying to walk down slick sidewalks. However, if there is too much snow or ice to get to a mailbox he will not deliver mail.

To help mail carriers it is important to not only shovel your sidewalk but deice your walkways and steps too.

"The melting snow comes off the roof, and it kind of ices up the steps. Those really do get icy, so I have to use the handrails a lot," Mullen said.

Even through the obstacles, Mullen says he enjoys his job because of the people he meets and the time he gets to spend outside. He said a little extra help from homeowners will make his job safer while also ensuring mail gets delivered.

One last suggestion from Mullen is to keep curbside mailboxes clear of snow just like sidewalks and porches.

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