Laverne Foltz behind the wheel of her truck, ready to make deliveries safely. --Supplied photo

Laverne Foltz behind the wheel of her truck, ready to make deliveries safely. --Supplied photo

Need a safe driver? Meet Laverne Foltz

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By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • [email protected]

There were about 81,000 car crashes in Chicago last year.

But don’t blame Laverne Foltz.

The Garfield Ridge mother of two—and grandmother of four—is one of the safest drivers you’ll find anywhere. That matters because in a typical year, Laverne puts about 2,500 miles on her UPS delivery truck.

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Laverne Foltz behind the wheel of her truck, ready to make deliveries safely. –Supplied photo

In fact, Laverne has amassed a 25-year, accident-free record of driving for the company many know fondly as Big Brown.

What’s more amazing is she drives accident free in the Loop, the most challenging, nerve-wracking part of the city for any driver, especially one who has to make frequent stops and jump on and off her 25,000-pound truck quickly.

Laverne grew up in Garfield Ridge, attending St. Jane de Chantal School and then Kennedy High School, where she graduated in 1983.

She later attended Daley College and began studying accounting, but found the field a bit dull for her tastes.

As a single mom raising two daughters, she first landed a job as a package sorter working the midnight shift at the UPS facility just southwest of the Loop, in 1989. Later, she found her way behind the wheel.

And it’s been quite a ride, in more ways than one.

She’s seen a few tense and exciting moments: police chases, movie shoots, protest marches and even a few free spirited characters.

“One day, I’m driving my truck and I see a man dressed up like Superman, walking down the street,” Laverne recalled. “And he’s acting like he’s Superman—pretending to hold up light poles, posing for pictures with people.

“Then there was a time when I’m driving and I saw a man dressed up like a New Year’s baby. All he wore was a big diaper and a top hat, and he carried this big clock so you knew he was the New Year’s baby. Then he sits down right in the middle Wells Street by Randolph, blocking traffic. But it wasn’t even New Year’s Day. It was nice outside,” she added with a laugh. “So yeah, you see a lot downtown that you may not see on other routes.”

Laverne’s achievement welcomes her into an elite group at UPS, the Circle of Honor–employees with 25 years or more driving with UPS and without a single accident. This year, the company inducted 1,495 drivers into the Circle of Honor. Made up of drivers across four continents, the most recent inductees (including Laverne) amassed a total of 37,375 years of safe driving. Globally, more than 10,500 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor.

“I love my job, and I truly enjoy working for this company,” she said. “It’s interesting, and it keeps me moving. And for the most part, my customers are very often some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. It’s a pleasure to serve their needs.”

So what’s Laverne’s secret of safe driving?

“My best advice is to count 1…2…3 after the light changes,” she said. “There’s always someone who drives through a red light. If you start driving the minute the light turns green, there’s a possibility you could be hit. Also, if you’re running behind on time, don’t try to make up for it by driving faster than you should. There’s no substitute for safety. And expect the unexpected.”

Congratulations, Laverne. I’m sure your daughters, Christina and Erica, and your grandchildren, Kaycee, Julian, Joell and Jayden, are proud of you, as they should be.

joanhadac 1

Joan Hadac

More news of note

  • You may know that I’ve written in the past about Project Linus, especially as it relates to the good people at Two Holy Martyrs Parish.

A Project Linus blanket drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21.

New, handmade blankets can be dropped off between those hours in front of the rectory at St. Rene Church, 6949 W. 63rd Place.

Volunteers will accept fleece (single or double). flannel, quilts, knit or crochet blankets.

If you are unable to make a blanket without the directions given to you at the National Make A Blanket Day, please consider donating fabric (1.5-2 yards of print fleece suitable for a child), and volunteers will make a blanket in your name.

Volunteers will also be accepting monetary donations to continue their efforts to provide blankets to children in hospitals and those in need of social service agencies.

If you need further information, please contact Mary at [email protected]

  • Here’s something I would have loved to attend when I was expecting my first child, years ago. An informal support group for new moms and dads (or expectant parents) is scheduled to meet at the Garfield Ridge Branch Library, 6348 S. Archer, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 12.

My thanks to children’s librarian Patti Tyznik for sharing this news. In fact, Patti has shared an entire May calendar of events with me. Check it out in the online version of this column at southwestregionalpublishing.com/clear-ridge-reporter.

  • A class in puppetry with a “Sock Heroes”theme is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at the Clearing Branch Library, 6423 W. 63rd Place..

This is an intermediate class in puppetry with the intention of building on accumulated knowledge and experience for future classes. Each successive class will get more complex as it introduces the attendees to various forms of puppets and puppetry.

Beginners are welcome. This workshop is for ages 7 and up to 17 (younger participants may need some assistance). Registration is required. Sign up on the Chicago Public Library website (chipublib.org) by clicking on “Events” and then Clearing Library.

The workshop is presented by the Dunworth Foundation and Little Puppet Company. The Marc Dunworth Foundation for the Performing Arts is a non-profit organization founded to promote and encourage the performing arts, especially the puppetry arts, through grants, scholarships, performances and education.

Thank you to Clearing Branch Library Director Rob Bitunjac for sharing this news.

Have a great week, everyone!

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