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Lake Odessa Post Office name change is official

Kali Fox (from left), Lake Odessa Postmaster Janette Bremer and Matt Weibel unveil the commemorative plaque with family members. (Photos by Hunter Dood)

Hunter Dood

Staff Writer

The Lake Odessa Post Office was officially named the Donna Sauers Besko Post Office Friday.

A ceremony to honor the late Sauers Besko and unveil the commemorative plaque for the post office took place at Central United Methodist Church.

Sauers Besko was the state's first female letter carrier in 1957, when she was working for the Lake Odessa Post Office.

The former Donna Scheidt graduated from South Haven High School in 1936. She and her husband, Paul Sauers, moved to Lake Odessa shortly after, where she began her career at the post office in 1952, serving as a clerk.

Donna and Paul had three children. Son Denny Sauers Sr. was serving in the Korean War in 1958 when his father died. The military was not going to allow him to travel back to the United States to attend his father’s funeral.

Donna Sauers wasn't taking that for an answer. She contacted the local congressmen, and her son got home in time for the funeral.

“This was one way she showed her determination,” her grandson, Denny Sauers Jr. recalled in a prvious interview.

In a biography he prepared as part of the nearly four-year project to name the post office in memory of his grandmother, he pulled a quote from an article published in 1980 by the Lansing State Journal. The article said, “When Lake Odessa went to city delivery, [Donna] applied for the carrier’s job but was turned down by regional officials in Grand Rapids. She reacted by driving to Grand Rapids to find out why.”

“She wasn’t going to accept ‘no’ for an answer,” Sauers Jr. said. “She was going to do everything she could do to make it happen, because she knew she could do it.”

Friday, approximately 60 friends and family joined state officials for the ceremony, which was moved from outside the post office to inside the church across the street because of the heat and the number of people attending.

“Denny came to my office a number of years ago so I know this has been a legacy of love for this,” said Kali Fox, regional manager for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

Fox added that the family made it easy for her to support this initiative because they had all the work done for her.

Peter Dickow, West Michigan regional director for U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said he was honored to be in attendance because it was “one of the most joyous” events he has recently attended.

“I just regret not having had the chance to meet Donna herself,” Dickow said.

State Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland, presented the family with a signed tribute to celebrate the name change. The tribute was signed by Calley, state Sen. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.

Krista Finazzo, district manager of the U.S. Postal Service of Greater Michigan District, presented the family with a commemorative plaque to honor Sauers Besko.

The family thanked all those who helped them through the process.

 “Matt was very gracious to listen,” Sauers Jr. said.

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