Stephen Derr is a morning person through and through.
A Morning Star carrier since 2015, Derr is out the door at 3:30 a.m. to deliver his five routes throughout Vernon. For most, it’s an ungodly hour to be busy at work, but not for Derr. In fact, he often wishes he could start even earlier.
“That’s when you might get to run into some wildlife.”
During the hours in which late night and early morning overlap, the streets are in a lull and the animals come out.
“There are mule deer that like our trailer court. I always get to run into a few of those,” Derr said.
“There was one time when I was doing the paper route, and I saw a porcupine walking down the street. I wish I would’ve had my phone on me!”
If you hadn’t guessed by now, Derr is an animal person as well as a morning person — and the animals he meets while on his routes seem to like him too.
“I enjoy the bunch of furry friends who like to try to help me out,” he said with a laugh, referring to the neighbourhood cats he encounters each morning. “I probably made the mistake of petting them, now I have to be careful that they don’t follow me all the way.”
It’s not just animals he enjoys meeting. Over the years the people he delivers to have gotten to know him, and he’s glad to be able to supply papers to the early risers in his neighbourhoods.
“Especially older people who get up early and read the paper with their coffee.”
Derr is one of 110 Morning Star carriers who serve as the indispensable conduits between the newsroom and the community. A model of reliability, he was was named the Morning Star’s carrier of the month in August.
Canadian Carrier Appreciation Day on Oct. 12 is a chance to celebrate what Derr and other carriers around the country do to sustain journalism and keep their communities informed — while perhaps seeing some wildlife as they go.