WOODBRIDGE >> After 45 consecutive years with the company, and not so much as a fender bender, UPS driver Walter Beasley, who will turn 72 on March 12, has been named to an elite group in the company.

Beasley, a local resident who drives double tractor-trailers, including out of state, is the top safe driver in Connecticut in in UPS’s Circle of Honor.

The honorary organization is composed of 117 active United Parcel Service drivers who have achieved 25 years or more of accident-free driving. He is also one of only 10 of the company’s 102,000 drivers globally who have achieved 45 years or more of safe driving.

Beasley has driven more than 4 million miles without a fender-bender and that’s equivalent to about eight round trips to the moon or 160 trips around the equator, UPS said in a press release.

But what perhaps puts him in an even more elite group, is that Beasley still loves his job after 50 years of service.

Beasley said the first thing he does in the morning is “thank the Lord” for his wife of 46 years, who is next to him. Then he watches the traffic report to see where the delays are because he is among the drivers responsible for delivering next day air packages.

Time is of the essence in his job.

When Beasley arrives at the UPS hub he works out of in Stratford, he exclaims, but not facetiously, “Another day in paradise. I love my job,”’ he said.

“You have to stay positive — you can’t let the negative creep in,” Beasley said.

Even to those not-so-skilled civilian drivers on the road, Beasley shows patience, always keeping his professionalism and to those who err asks “the Lord” to forgive them, “for they know not what they do,” he said.

He started his UPS career in October 1967, but six months later, he was drafted into the Army and spent three years as a military policeman. He returned to UPS in February 1970, and has been driving ever since.

“This keeps me alive,” he said.

UPS drivers receive extensive safety training.

John Fawver, Beasley’s supervisor of 20 years, who is also in charge of keeping driver skills updated, said “space and visibility” are the two most important factors in safe driving.

Beasley’s driving skills are superb, but most important, “He loves his job and when you love your job, that’s the key,” Fawver said.

Gary Clarke, manager of all UPS tractor-trailer drivers in Connecticut, northeast of Hartford, said there are not many people who reach 50 years of service with the company or 45 years of no accidents.

He said the job Beasley has can be physically taxing.

“Walter has been a great employee for us,” Clarke said. “A lot of guys at his level stay in Connecticut and putz around. But he works 10-12 hours a day.”

“There are not many with that work ethic,” Clarke said.

Beasley said he can still drive all night, and when the sun comes up, “I feel refreshed.” Although when he drives to Virginia with his wife, Willary, on trips, “She says I don’t know how to drive,” he said.

Willary Beasley is an interior designer.

Walter Beasley keeps a picture in his wallet of Marty Peters, UPS’ longest-tenured employee. Peters retired in 2009 at age 87, after 63 years with the company.

Beasley said Willary bought him a Jaguar some 10 years ago as what she thought would be a retirement gift, but he broke it to her that he wasn’t ready. And he still doesn’t see it in the cards.

“I’m going too strong to retire,” he said.