By Maureen McMullen
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
FARGO, N.D. – When Dylan Schnabel, 18, started his paper route as a fifth-grader in his hometown of Kulm, N.D., he had hoped to make a few extra dollars.
“My dad got tired of telling me ‘no’ when I wanted something, so he started me on The Jamestown Sun newspaper route,” said Schnabel. Schnabel shifted his route to The Forum the summer after his eighth-grade year when a position opened. In his seven years delivering papers, Dylan gained more than extra spending money.
For the past two years, he has been selected as a finalist for The Forum’s Carrier of the Year scholarship, raking in $500 in 2011 and $1000 in 2012. This year, he was chosen out of seven finalists for Carrier of the Year, awarding him another $1,500.
“It’s one of those things that not a lot of people have even had the opportunity to do, and to have done so is an amazing honor,” Schnabel said of the scholarship.
Finalists are selected out of applications submitted by The Forum’s “honor carriers,” or carriers who’ve had a route for more than six months with a record of outstanding service. Schnabel’s excellence in customer service during his paper route was reflected in his interactions with customers.
“I knew every single person on the route,” Schnabel said. “I had people who’d come meet me at 7 in the morning and say ‘Hi,’ and I got Christmas cards every year from a lot of my stops. It was very fulfilling.”
With the $3,000 in scholarships, Schnabel plans to focus on his studies in computer programming at the University of North Dakota this year rather than work.
“Education is very important to me,” said Schnabel, who was a straight-A student in high school. “(The scholarship) really helps alleviate the pressure; it allows me to focus more on my schooling and education rather than worry about where the dollars are coming from.”
Schnabel also benefited physically from his years delivering papers. His father, Florian Schnabel, said that Dylan had asthma from a young age; his lungs, as described by his doctor, were “90 percent shot.” The physical challenge posed by his five-mile paper route not only improved his asthma, eliminating his need for an inhaler, but also built up his strength for sports.
With Dylan Schnabel studying at UND this year, his brother, Dalton, 13, is following in his brother’s footsteps and picked up the route.
“I helped him out here and there, and he started talking about how it’s good for sports because it’s that exercise,” said Dalton, who participates in football, wrestling and track.
The Forum and The Jamestown Sun are both owned by Forum Communications Co., which is a multimedia information company based in Fargo. FCC owns dozens of newspapers, websites and television and radio stations, and commercial printing plants in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.