Miller City Post Office - Putnam Sentinel
The new Post Office sign is displayed with the now removed old sign. Standing with the new sign are (left to right) Bernetta Geise, Postmaster of Miller City and Continental; Kerry Johnson, MC-NC Superintendent; student Austin Wagner; and Vo-Ag Instructor John Koenig. (Putnam Sentinel/Martin Verni)

MILLER CITY — Austin Wagner, a student at Miller City-New Cleveland High School has passed by the Miller City Post Office on numerous occasions. And, in doing so, he has repeatedly seen something which always apparently bothered him. Over the years, the sign for the village’s post office has deteriorated, in no small part due to the continued abuse from those who thought it something of a game to knock letters off of the sign.

Like many before him, Austin could have decided to simply continue passing on by, but he didn’t. He made a different choice. Austin decided to fix something in his community he thought needed fixing.

“I saw the sign out here and it wasn’t doing to well,” the young man explains. “With all of the knowledge in math and engineering, and, of course, the ag class, I wanted to make a new sign for the Post Office.”

“My dad (Corey Wagner) has owns a CNC and my cousin (Justin Wagner) has access to one. It reads g-code, which can be used to cut designs into wood and other materials. They helped me make the sign.” (CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control, a device used in prototyping and full production for cutting, carving, machining and milling in wood, MDF, plastics, foams, and aluminum)

Bernetta Geise, Postmaster of Miller City and Continental was quite impressed with the results of Austin’s efforts, saying, “Just doing this for the community, I think it’s really cool…Keeping these small post offices is really important to us. We truly appreciate it. This is a place that everyone in town comes to. Because it’s all P.O. Box, so every customer comes here to the Post Office.”

Vo-Ag instructor John Koenig was impressed with Austin’s initiative as well, saying, “One thing I really want to stress is that Austin did a great job in understanding the need and he saw the opportunity here. Intermingling all of the knowledge he has gained through the mathematics department and how that related to his engineering classes, and then, naturally, when it came over to Ag and the woodworking component that we do.”

“It was really his idea and his vision to make this all happen. It was really quite inspiring, I think, not only for me as one of his instructors, but also his classmates for how he was able to bring this all about.”

The owner of the building, Kahle Verhoff, has already replaced the old sign with the one Austin created. Helping in a small but significant way to make the community of Miller City a better place.