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After the stories are written, ads placed, paper printed and circulars inserted, The LaRue County Herald News makes its way to the newsstands. However, its journey getting there deserves a story itself.
Randy Williams, the driver of the delivery van, is the face that many see representing the weekly paper. He starts his mission Tuesday evening with an empty van, a receipt book, pen and calculator and a liter of Diet Mountain Dew. Williams has been working the part-time position for more than two years, but gives a full-time commitment – making sure to deliver the paper – rain, snow, or shine with a smile.
His first stop is the printing plant at The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, where Williams has been given the nick name “Woo Hoo” for his spunky entrance routine of swinging the doors open and belting out “Wooo Hooo” to the staff.
With no hesitation, Williams jumps in and helps the staff stack, move and load the bundles of papers on to the delivery van – above and beyond his expected job duties. A few arm punches, jokes and laughs later, Williams is ready to begin the night delivering the Wednesday edition.
From Elizabethtown to Hodgenville, Roanoke, Buffalo, Magnolia, New Haven, Sonora and Upton, Williams travels 200-to-500 miles stocking rack locations and paper boxes. There is variation in the distance driven due to occasional backtracking on the route.
Williams has a rapport with store clerks, built through numerous conversations over several weeks of deliveries.
“I make it quick but friendly,” said Williams, “I talk while writing receipts.”
The route requires more than keys, gas and newspaper. Williams plans his routine to maximize the number of stops he can make and reduce backtracking. Although most weeks remain the same, Williams says it “can change every week,” depending on when the paper is printed at the plant.
The routine is based around the close of individual businesses. For example, Williams knows that one of his locations closes at 6:30 p.m., so he will deliver there first, skipping past paper boxes that he can fill any time.
Before dashing off to New Haven, where he must arrive before 8 p.m., Williams often stops at the Golden Arches to order a McDouble with “only leaf lettuce” because “shredded is too messy for driving.”
At the first red light out of the parking lot Williams reaches to the back of the van to grab a few bundles of papers to prepare for the upcoming stops – not a second of time is wasted.
When the light turns green, Williams lets out a “Woo Hoo” as the paper pallets slide in the back – a result of quick acceleration.
“It’s just like hauling a bundle of bowling balls,” Williams said.
As daylight turns to dusk, Williams knows his night is still young.
“I go full speed on Tuesdays,” said Williams. “If I don’t slow down I know Wednesday morning I can say ‘shoo.’”
After traveling to the Sonora area, Williams wraps his night up and nears his Elizabethtown home around 10:30 where he sits down and reviews his receipts. Soon after, Williams is off to bed late only to wake up early for a few morning runs.
By 9:30 the next morning, Williams has completed his run and returned to the Herald News office.
With a quick change of clothes, a few good jokes and a dip in the candy bowl, Williams bounces out of the office with a laugh and a “Woo Hoo.”
Despite the many hours spent delivering The LaRue County Herald News, his day isn’t over. Usually, he takes a short break before going to his full-time job at IGA.
(Reporter’s note: I’m not sure how Williams keeps his spunk. If I had to guess I would say it’s the Mountain Dew.)