Mail Driver Mike Keehnast receives the Light of Parkway Award for his work


Cathy Kelly

Accepting the prize, Mike Keehnast receives the Light of Parkway Award in 2019 from the head of the mailroom, Diane Barnes. Keehnast had just finished his last route of the day when he was astonished by the honor. “I was not surprised that he won the award. Mike has done an excellent job for Parkway for many years and I was glad that his hard work was finally recognized,” Barnes said.

Driving from school to school picking up and delivering mail is Parkway employee Mike Keehnast’s daily job. After completing his noon deliveries March 12, Keehnast was surprised to receive the Light of Parkway Award.

“I was very humbled and honored to receive this award. When [the award] was presented to me, I was very surprised,” Keehnast said. “I had just ended my route and was not expecting the award. The Light of Parkway Award recognizes people like me who ordinarily wouldn’t [be recognized.] I am very honored to be one of the five workers who was chosen. ”

The Light of Parkway Award was created in 2017 to recognize Parkway operations staff members who create a positive environment for those around them. It was made to commemorate former bus driver, Sandy Finch.

“Many people are deserving, [but] I was grateful to be chosen. It is humbling to be positively recognized by your co-workers and encouraging to know I’m making a difference and impacting others just by doing my job every day,” Keehnast said.

Confidential Specialist for the Parkway Health Services Department Sandra Braden, a former Light of Parkway winner, was responsible for nominating Keehnast for the award.

“I recommended Mike for the award because he fits the profile established to be a Light of Parkway,” Braden said. “He creates a positive and caring environment for other people, shows respect for others, shows joy in his job and is a miracle to be around. He is always helping others to make extra runs. He helps me lift heavy boxes without being asked to, wearing a smile on his face.”

The head of the district mailroom, Diane Barnes, also nominated Keehnast for the award.

“Mike received this award because of his consistent hard work. He gets the job done every day quickly, efficiently and without fuss,” Barnes said.

People comment on Keehnast’s work ethic frequently by sending emails thanking him and telling his supervisor what he has done.

“I like to have fun and laugh throughout each day and try to take that approach at work while still keeping it professional as I fulfill my duties.  I have taken the time to purposely invest in people’s lives beyond just their work identity. I try to be genuine and transparent in my daily interactions and take pride in putting forth an honest days work while not shying away from going the extra mile whenever necessary.”

October 2020 will mark Keehnast’s 14th year of service to the district.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know many people and build friendships with some great people that work within the district,” Keehnast said. “Parkway has a great reputation as a school district, and [I have been] been fortunate to have a small part in it.”