Senior keeps shut-ins connected with their hometowns through newspaper delivery

A 74-year-old Red Deer senior has carved out his own special weekly newspaper route that brings papers to shut-ins and other people who want news from their hometowns.

A 74-year-old Red Deer senior has carved out his own special weekly newspaper route that brings papers to shut-ins and other people who want news from their hometowns.

About eight years ago, Arnold Mottus began delivering a free rural newspaper based in Leslieville, the Western Star, to people he knew in the city who used to live in the rural area.

Mottus grew up on a farm in the Eckville area. He and his wife Vera moved to Red Deer in 1972. He started informally obtaining copies of the weekly as a “friendship thing”, handing them out to people he knew when he got together with them for coffee or at their homes.

At one point he used to get copies of the paper in the middle of the night on Hwy 2 just outside Red Deer, meeting a driver who was bringing the papers fresh off the press back to Leslieville.

It grew from there and for the last few years he has also been coming to the Red Deer Advocate every week to pick up a variety of Black Press-owned weekly papers to give to people wanting to read about happenings in their hometowns.

Some of the papers include the Eckville Echo, Sylvan Lake News, Lacombe Express, Rimbey Review and Ponoka News.

It’s a social event for him to deliver the papers to people, Mottus said. “They love it.”

“Let’s put it this way. He likes to treat people,” Vera said. Every week when he shows up at the Advocate he also treats front desk staff to coffee. He’s been an Advocate subscriber for over 40 years.

Mottus delivers papers on Thursday and also on Fridays when he meets with people he knows to hand off more of the papers.

Delivering them lets him stay in touch with relatives such as cousins in the city, and friends, a lot who are from Eckville.

One of the people he delivers several papers to every week in Red Deer is 85-year-old Jack Pallo, who is mainly housebound now.

Mottus also brings him a coffee each time. Pallo is a second cousin to Mottus.

Before he retied, Mottus was a skilled master electrician who worked at Canada Packers from 1969 to 1991, and also at the military bunker out at Penhold before it closed.

“I’m also known as the egg carton man.” Mottus gathers about 120 flats of the cartons from the kitchen at the seniors home they live in. He then delivers them to the Burnt Lake Auction Cafe to a friend, and they end up making their way to a Hutterite colony.

He gets a nice meal at the cafe and sometimes some great peanut butter squares in return.

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