BLADENSBURG — After-school jobs are taken on by many youngsters, some at a rather young age in the form of delivering the daily newspaper. Some see it as a chance to earn a little money and even gain a sense of learning and responsibility. But one area youth values his job much more than that.
Residents in the village of Bladensburg daily have the opportunity of having their Mount Vernon News delivered with a smile and a kind word. “I love it. I just love helping these people out,” said 10-year-old Tyler Tarbert, son of Joe and Natasha Tarbert, who is the lone News delivery person in Bladensburg. Tyler has been delivering the News for nearly three years and knows just how long each of his customers has been receiving their newspaper. Tyler has a bicycle he rides around town most days on his route. Other days he’ll walk his entire route with his carrying bag in tow.
“All his customers, when they see him, it’s ‘Hi, Tyler ... how’s school going;’ they all know him by name, and they just enjoy seeing him,” said Natasha Tarbert. “He’s had customers say if he ever quits his paper route, they’ll stop getting the paper.”
Tyler made an impression recently on Matt Schwartz, pastor at the Church of God in Bladensburg. Local resident and one of Tyler’s customers, Etta Van Winkle, had recently passed away. While changing the reader board in front of the church one day to read “In memory of Etta Van Winkle,” Schwartz was approached by Tyler who stopped to say, “She was a nice lady. She will really be missed.”
Later that day, Schwartz met with the Van Winkle family and they explained to him how Tyler delivered a box of cookies along with the newspaper, saying “I really liked your mom. She was so nice. My mom made these cookies, but I iced them myself.”
Tyler then touched the hearts of the family once again at the funeral calling hours, causing the family to cry with his kind words. “He really blessed all of them; it was just a real hometown touch,” said Schwartz. “He went above and beyond the call of duty as a paper boy. I’m honored to have him as a citizen in the community. You just don’t see children doing that anymore.”
When asked about his acts of kindness toward the Van Winkle family, “I knew they were going through really hard times,” said Tyler. “It made me feel really good.” The elderly have been an ongoing concern for Tyler as he has often checked in to see if his customers were doing OK.
One such customer is Carol Winke. “In August, it will be three years,” said Tyler about his delivery to Winke.
Winke in turn commented on Tyler’s dependability of delivering the paper on time each day.
Tyler said he also enjoys helping his school by recycling newspapers and taking them in which helps provide funds for the school. He has also been a representative for the News in the Bladensburg Christmas Parade the last two years. “And I’m going to be in it again” he beamed.
Delivering the News is not the only thing in which Tyler takes pride. Competing in football and baseball plus taking part in 4-H also occupies his time and dedication. His favorite part of 4-H is showing hogs and heifers at the Knox County Fair. A week is set aside for the fair each year, but Tyler makes sure arrangements are made that his newspapers are delivered each day.
“Pigs are my favorite; I like walking through the barns and seeing everyone’s projects,” he said, as he was happy to show off his awards from his sports teams and 4-H.
And while he is growing older, becoming involved in more activities and playing with his younger brother, Tate, Tyler has no intentions of giving up his paper route.
“This makes me feel good because I’m helping everybody out, in a way,” he said.
Contact Alan ReedEmail
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.