‘Our mailman’ is a familiar face to South Shore businesses, residents
June 26, 2008
He’s a familiar figure around town, carrying his mailbag and driving his Jeep with the tiger-shark teeth painted on either side of the hood.
Mark Wieland is known as “our mailman” to the many businesses and individuals to whom he has delivered mail in South Lake Tahoe for the past 15 years.
Wieland has been a rural mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service for 16 years. His career with the Postal Service started in 1992, when he applied after seeing a notice on the door at the Camino Post Office for a rural carrier. He was a substitute rural carrier with a route from Placerville to Pollock Pines for a year, and at the same time was working as a security guard at night in Sacramento.
He was tired of being a substitute and working two jobs, so when he heard the Postal Service was hiring in Tahoe, he put in for a transfer. He moved to South Lake Tahoe in 1993, and within a year had his own route.
The 48-year-old was born in Pasadena, Calif., in 1959, and graduated from high school in Fair Oaks, Calif., in 1978. During the next several years, he worked as a carpenter, was a pipe fitter for Chevron Research Center in Martinez, Calif., and was employed by McGee Plumbing in South Lake Tahoe during the mid-1980s. He got his contractor’s license in 1986 and did mostly remodels and painting before going to work for Humason Termite and Pest Control in Placerville.
Using his skills fixing and building things, Wieland put his 1975 Jeep delivery vehicle together with parts from three different Jeeps – sort of like Frankenstein’s monster. His 21-year-old daughter, Samantha, painted tiger-shark teeth, like the ones on Flying Tiger airplanes, on each side of the hood.
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His postal route includes the businesses along Lake Tahoe Boulevard from Rufus Allen to Al Tahoe boulevards and the Al Tahoe residential area. He delivers and picks up mail and packages, has stamps and forms available, and provides special services for the elderly and ill.
A normal day in the winter can be eight to 10 hours, depending on the snow conditions, and from six to eight hours in the summer. Snow makes a big difference, and the Christmas season takes longer.
Wieland enjoys his job. He likes being outside, and he also likes not having someone looking over his shoulder. He has made many friends on his route through the years and finds it’s always a good feeling to help customers.
A major transformation took place in his life 20 years ago when he came to know Jesus Christ as his savior. A born-again Christian, Wieland was both baptized and married in the First Baptist Church in Pollock Pines. He is a member of Sierra Community Church in South Lake Tahoe, where he teaches Sunday school and is in charge of maintenance.
He and Carrie Wieland have been together since 1982 and have been married for 19 years. The couple have six children – Chris, 25; Samantha, 21; Timothy, 17; Paul, 15; Jesse, 13; and Amanda, 11. The family also includes Bear, a Labrador mix, and Cindy the cat.
Wieland enjoys fixing and building things and never would think of taking one of his cars to someone else to repair. He likes to canoe, camp and fish with his family.
When his son Chris turned 13, the two of them went on a weeklong canoe camping trip, and he has done the same with each of his children when they reached 13 years old. He looks forward to the trip with Amanda in two years. He loves to spend time alone with his children during these outings.
Here is how he answered the Tribune’s questions:
“He loved God, loved his wife, and loved his kids.”
“My daughter Samantha’s wedding in September. My first daughter is getting married, and I want everything to be just right.”
“Rush Limbaugh. He is politically astute, and we share many political opinions.”
“Canoe camping with my family.”
“Spend more time with my family – I get too busy making a living. When people are dying, you don’t hear them say, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work.’ “
“Our young men and women in the military who are putting their lives on the line for our country’s freedom.”
“Jesus Christ, my God, my creator and my savior.”
“My oldest son, Chris. Since he joined the Navy five years ago and married, I’ve only seen him twice.”
“I’d pick the Pulitzer Prize, because reading and writing isn’t my thing. It would be very ironic.”
“The greatest country in the world not being oil self-sufficient. We have the technology to drill, pump and refine environmentally safely. Let’s do it!”