By Chris McGuinness
Killeen Daily Herald
What has a red nose, antlers and is known for delivering important packages during the holidays? A flying reindeer?
How about a Jeep full of mail from the U.S. Postal Service?
For the third year in a row, Killeen residents along postal worker Russell Henrich’s delivery route were treated to the festive sight of the Copperas Cove resident’s Jeep, which is decorated as Rudolph.
“It’s great fun every year,” said Henrich. “It really puts everyone in the Christmas spirit, and it’s fun to drive around and see people’s reactions when they see it.”
The 1974 postal dispatch Jeep is Henrich’s personal vehicle. It is fitted with a pair of antlers on the roof, a bright red nose on its grill and tows a trailer with a large storage box painted to look like a wrapped present.
Henrich said the idea came to him three years ago during the postal service’s usual holiday rush.
“It started with the present and the trailer,” said Henrich. “I made (the container) to put all the extra mail and packages in, and I thought, ‘Why not decorate it like a present?’ Everything kind of grew from there.”
Henrich restored the Jeep and fabricated all the decorations himself — including giving it the iconic blue and white paint job and adding the U.S. Postal Service’s logos.
“It was a rust bucket when I bought it about four years ago,” said Henrich. “It’s an ongoing project for me, but I love doing it, and I love decorating it for Christmas.”
Henrich isn’t the only one who is glad to see the red-nosed Jeep each December. “I think it’s really wonderful what he does,” said Connie Shelton, Henrich’s neighbor. “It really just makes everyone smile whenever they see him drive by.”
Since he has been decorating the Jeep for multiple years, Henrich said many of the people on his route and around Killeen recognize the vehicle, especially younger residents looking to contact Rudolph’s boss.
“This year, I had stopped the car and a little girl walked up to me,” Henrich said, as he pulled a small envelope from the front seat of the Jeep. “She handed me a letter for Santa.”
In the end, Henrich said he enjoys bringing a little joy to others during the holidays and was quick to say he planned to decorate the vehicle again next year. “It’s just fun for the people who see it on the street and for me, too.”