2011 Oak Leaf

Congratulations Diane Wardrop this year's
 inductee into the 2011 Oak Leaf Society.

Diane was a member of the KYRLCA from her earliest Sub days beginning in March, 1977 to her move to Illinois in 1992.  The phenomenal challenges, accomplishments and educational advantages she received during those years were essential building blocks for values of professionalism, integrity, service, education and encouragement to others, which she holds in high esteem.

She represented District “A” out of the Paducah office during her 9 years as an elected Board member, and was a National Convention delegate from 1983 (Albuquerque) to 1991 (St. Paul). She served as the District “A” area steward for many years, initiating and/or investigating numerous individual and class action grievances.  As a facilitator, Diane supported the newly adopted QWL/EI process.

In the mid-1980’s, as a Board member traveling to several District meetings, Diane perceived a need for the KYRLCA to provide better educational opportunities and cohesion among the various district officers.  To that end, and with the active involvement of friend and fellow Board member, Joan Chowning, Diane created the first drafts of district officer duty guidelines and meeting expectations.  These were revised and adopted by the Board in 1986, and incorporated into the annual state convention agendas.

Among many duties, she worked and traveled in support of the 1985 National Convention  in Louisville.  Her middle son, David, was President of the Juniors at the time and gave a convention speech.  Today, he serves his country as a Lt. Col. in the Army.  Asked about his gift of speechmaking over the years, he replied, “I use to listen to my mother give speeches to her union members”.

Diane’s steward representation work began quietly enough when she invited the Paducah carriers to her home for an informal discussion of contractual rights prior to the 1979 (or 1980) annual mail count.  This sparked a unity of purpose that served the carriers well then, and in many future mail counts.  Under her representation, they persevered without harm one year, when many were called before postal inspectors in an office purge, aimed at discrediting a recent count.

Another year, exploiting a potential contractual loophole, Diane filed a class action grievance to initiate a special count.  The grievance was eventually sustained and the special count resulted in thousands of dollars in increased salary benefits shared among the Paducah carriers. She was told it was the only grievance of its type filed in the country.  The loophole was closed eventually through an MOU attachment to the existing contract.

Diane was asked by then State Steward Scottie Hicks, to become one of the original 16 national rural carrier facilitators to be trained in the QWL/EI process.  She believed deeply in the cooperative problem-solving mission and worked for several years as a facilitator in District “A”.  These privileges, and the resultant tools learned, have served her well over many years.

Before moving to Paducah, Ky. in 1976, Diane worked in the St. Louis, Mo. area for 15 years, as a licensed Registered Nurse.  The career move was difficult at first, but as explained, it became most rewarding.  In Paducah, she carried many routes, most of them “L” routes. 

In March, 1991, Diane married Dr. James Wardrop of the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).  Unable to affect a rural carrier transfer, she left the postal service in Paducah in 1992 and resumed her nursing career at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in nearby Danville, IL.  She retired in 1997.In retirement, Diane and Jim enjoy international travel, fine arts performances on campus, “Fighting Illini” basketball (sorry Wildcats), and numerous volunteer activities in their local church.  They share 5 married children and 9 grandchildren.

Diane thanks the KYRLCA for this honor; and for the memories to treasure well beyond the 15 years she spent in Kentucky.  These were rich experiences from which to learn and grow.  She offers her humble thanks to a merciful and loving Heavenly Father for His faithful care in times of turmoil and triumph.