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Former Hays man ends postal career

1/6/2014

By RANDY GONZALES

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

HERINGTON -- Dan Denning was accustomed to making two types of deliveries -- the mail for the post office and sermons as a pastor.

Denning, who grew up in Hays and lives in Herington, stepped down in both capacities Dec. 31. Now, the 54-year-old is waiting for God's plan for the rest of his life.

"I'm waiting to hear from him on that," said Denning, who was postmaster at Herington since 1993 until his retirement.

Denning, who graduated from Hays High School in 1978, started his 30-plus year career with the postal service in Liberal in 1983. He followed in his father's footsteps in working for the postal service. Al Denning started work with the Hays Post Office in 1965 before retiring in 1991.

Dan Denning said his father emphasized finding a good company to work for.

"He said there's nothing wrong with taking the civil service exam," Denning said. "That's what we grew up learning. Sure enough, that's what we all did, took the civil service exam when it was available."

Denning's older brother, Tom, also worked for the postal service in Hays before retiring in 2009. His younger sister, Kathy Banks, who lives in Russell, worked for the postal service from 1985 until retiring in January 2013.

After working at Liberal for two years, Dan Denning transferred to Hays, where he was a night clerk for approximately two years. He then became a postmaster for the first time, at Deerfield, for two years before moving to become postmaster at Sublette in 1989. Denning stayed there until 1993, when he became postmaster at Herington.

Denning also has been a pastor for approximately five years and an ordained pastor for three years. He resisted the Lord's calling at first, Denning said.

"God just kept hitting me over the head with it, so I finally gave in and started taking some classes," he said. "It feels right; that's what I'm supposed to do.

"I was kind of different, being a pastor and a postmaster at the same time."

Denning said he cherished his time growing up in Hays.

"It was fun. It was very community-oriented," he said. "We grew up there on Sixth and Ash."

Denning remembered how neighbors got together then.

"A lot of front-porch activity. As I grew up, things moved to the back porch," he said. "That's one thing I kind of missed growing up, having moved from the front to the back.

"With that, people became more private in their backyard. When you have a front yard, it was always big socials and block parties."

Now, Denning waits to see what is on the horizon. He was an associate pastor at Turning Point Wesleyan Church in Junction City when he stepped down at the end of December. Denning is sure his future holds something similar, although he's just not sure what.

"Right now, we're just praying to hear from (God) again on what's next," Denning said.