Lenard Hostetler was just two years out of high school in 1974 when he overheard two Navy recruits talking about their experiences.
It sounded like the life for him.
Before he knew it, Hostetler found himself standing in a military recruiting office, where he declared, “The Navy probably doesn’t need me right now, but I need the Navy.”
Hostetler — now a Wichita, KS, mail handler — spent the next 22 years in the Navy, traveling the world.
“I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.
In 1981, Hostetler moved to Kansas, where he remained in the Naval Reserves. He joined USPS five years later and became part of the organization’s long tradition of employing veterans.
“After a couple of months as a mail handler, I told myself, ‘This is almost as good [as being in the military],’” Hostetler said.
He retired from the Navy in 1996, but he hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the armed forces.
At the Wichita Processing and Distribution Center, Hostetler has created a banner that is displayed above the employee entrance each Veterans Day.
He also crafted a “remembrance” wreath that features the seals of each branch of the military and the USPS logo.
“Lenard represents all veterans,” said Distribution Operations Manager Mike Dornbusch. “He goes out of his way on Veterans Day. It’s an honor to work with him.”
Hostetler said his efforts reflect a central lesson from his years in the service: “Be thankful for what we have and don’t take your freedom for granted.”