Steve Zumsteg has been with the district for 28 years beginning his Lufkin ISD career in the grounds department performing tasks like cleaning the stadium. In 2005, he was asked to move to the mailroom while repairing vacuum cleaners for the district on weekends and evenings. After doing both jobs for three years, he moved completely to the mailroom where he sorts, stacks, delivers and deposits mail and packages all day.
He said, “You might think this job is real routine, but every day is different. I like to keep an eye on the campuses. I like to make it an adventure and challenge myself.”
And that he does. Traveling 70 miles a day, multiple times to each campus and department, he begins his day after a hot, fresh cup of black coffee and checking in at the Warehouse Department. He first travels to the post office to get the mail and then to the Administration building to sort. He drives to the maintenance office, bus barn, technology building, Lufkin Middle School, nutrition services, custodial services and comes back to the Administration building to get outgoing mail. He then goes to the Division of Instruction building, ACE, Lufkin High School, the print shop at Lufkin High School, Herty Primary, Hackney Primary, Coston Elementary, Garrett Primary, Dunbar Primary, Brandon Elementary, Brookhollow Elementary, Trout Primary, Anderson Elementary, Burley Primary, Slack Elementary, Kurth Primary all before lunch!
After lunch he travels to the Administration building, the Division of Instruction building, Lufkin High School, transportation, technology building, Lufkin Middle School, Student Nutrition Services, and back to Administration to meter the mail and drop off inner office mail. He goes to the bank to make deposits for the student activities funds and business office, and goes to the Post Office to drop off the mail for the day. Sometimes he makes trips to Stubblefield to pick up their mail or deliver a package.
When asked what he does with his time in the van all day, he said he likes to listen to music.
He said, “I like to listen to 70’s music, country music, maybe talk radio. It’s nice to have some background music. In my van now, I have an auxiliary hookup and can listen to songs I’ve downloaded on my phone. I always tell everyone to leave me a message because I try to not answer the phone while I’m driving.”
Mr. Steve hasn’t always been in the mail business but very similar. His first job was a newspaper route. He was born in Kansas, Missouri and grew up in Houston. He moved to Lufkin in the early 1970’s when his dad was working with the railroad. He worked at Southland in the timberland department where he would cruise timber. He enjoyed this job because it got him out in the woods exploring.
He said, “Lufkin was small but not itty bitty. It had lakes, rivers, places to explore. Cruising timber was the best job. I thought I had went to Heaven”.
Southland changed to St. Regis. While at the paper mill, Steve met his wife. She was a mail clerk for St. Regis. Then 1985 rolled around with layoffs.
Mr. Steve has seen a lot of changes over the years like the high school being built, changes from snail mail to electronic and multiple superintendents. He feels that even though society is going digital the mail doesn’t seem any lighter.
He said, “It’s pretty much the same since the digital age. I’ve delivered balloons to wheelchairs. One of the items I’ve delivered that stands out the most in my mind is that early in the war in the Middle East students were using 2-liter plastic Coke bottles that were cut and taped up with goodies for the troops inside.”
When not busy at work and watching over the campuses, Mr. Steve enjoys doing yard work “when it’s not too hot or cold”.
He said, “I enjoy what I do. I get a sense of self-satisfaction. It’s a way I can help others do their job. I get to know a lot of people, a lot of nice people. I have a good life, good family, I feel very fortunate. I like to give back and go beyond – go the extra mile.”
Thank you, Mr. Steve, for always going the extra mile.