Making a Difference

Making a difference

Mark Denbrook is thankful for his postal hero CCA Jason Westby.

Mark Denbrook was having a flashback. The retired Hibbing, MN, teacher suffers from an inner ear disorder that can affect his balance. Recently while walking his two small dogs, he suddenly felt dizzy and fell face down to the ground.

“To steal the line from the commercial, I’d fallen and I couldn’t get up,” Denbrook later told the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

Just then, Hibbing City Carrier Assistant Jason Westby (who was in his first week on the job) had turned into the alley where Denbrook had fallen. Westby rushed up with cell phone in hand and asked Denbrook if he wanted him to call 911. Denbrook was alert and answered that he thought if he could get to his feet he would be all right.

Westby and a passerby then helped him up, checked to make sure he was steady, and observed Denbrook as he walked to his home to make sure he made it safely. Except for a couple of bumps and scrapes, Denbrook was fine and recovered quickly. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Grinsteinner, Hibbing Daily Tribune)

On a Cloudy Day

On a cloudy day

This image of the Mississippi River taken along the Stone Arch Bridge passes directly next to the Main Post Office in Minneapolis, MN. The sound of flowing water can sometimes be a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the large office on a busy day.

Melodic sounds are sometimes associated with a more pleasant demeanor and brighter outlook throughout one’s day. They’ve also been known to help increase motivation when the end of the day needs a little encouragement to appear.

When you have the opportunity to listen to sounds, music, or other forms of audio motivation, what do you choose to listen to?

Birthday Cards for Boy Battling Cancer

Birthday cards

Struggling with life-threatening cancer is one of the most difficult challenges someone can face. For 5-year-old Danny Nickerson, looking forward to his upcoming birthday is giving him the optimism he needs – with the help of a special type of gift.

Birthday cards are all the soon to be 6-year-old wants for his birthday on July 25. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, Danny wishes to enjoy the sight of many birthday cards with his name written on them to help celebrate his special day.

To send Danny a message for his birthday, address it to:

Danny Nickerson
PO Box 212
Foxboro, MA 02035

To read more about Danny’s story, click here.

Shipper Partners with Retail Outlet

Shipper partners with retail outlet

Recently, FedEx announced a partnership with Home Hardware Stores Limited, a Canadian-based home improvement center, to offer full-service shipping solution centers to customers within Home Hardware stores. Implementation is expected to roll out in phases over the course of the year.

Each store is operated by an independent “Home Owner,” and each owner will evaluate the in-house shipping center for possible inclusion in their store.

In its official announcement, FedEx states that the partnership will give “…online shoppers more points-of-access options to meet their shipping needs.” Both companies expect the partnership to yield beneficial results for their customers.

Home Hardware, founded in 1964, has annual sales of $5.4 billion from the nearly 1,100 retail locations throughout Canada. President and CEO of Home Hardware Paul Straus states in the partnership announcement, “This exciting alliance with FedEx Express Canada is one of the many ways in which we continue to innovate to add more value to our customers’ shopping experience.”

As companies look for opportunities to increase brand awareness and product access to customers going forward, additional alliances similar to the FedEx/Home Hardware partnership are likely to unfold.

Click It

Click it

When entering any automobile, do you click your seat belt each and every time you get in?

Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, no excuse to avoid wearing one is worth the risk of severe injury – or worse.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of seat belts saved 12,174 lives in 2012. If 3,031 other individuals had chosen to wear their seat belts that same year, their lives would have been saved as well.

Each and every time you enter a vehicle, make safety your first priority by strapping on the seat belt before you turn on the ignition.

Billings Clerk Hatches Plan to Save Baby Chicks

General Expeditor Brenda Hansen with a healthy hatchling.

General Expeditor Brenda Hansen with a healthy hatchling.

Hatcheries frequently ship baby chicks through the mail. The process is both safe and convenient, ensuring that the young chicks reach their destination alive and well. Baby chicks can survive for three days without food or water by relying on their yolk sac for sustenance, but when a particular shipment of baby chicks went unclaimed for more than two days, Brenda Hansen knew their welfare was in jeopardy.

Hansen is a tour 3 general expeditor at the Billings Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). When her facility received eight dozen baby chicks without a delivery or return address, she became concerned. After two days passed by without word from their owners, Hansen knew she had to act. That’s when she volunteered to care for them at her home until a new one could be found.

“Ms. Hansen has chickens of her own so she had space to care for them,” said Billings P&DC Manager David Brown. “Not many people would volunteer their time and space to step up and care for the birds.”

Though the owners never claimed the chicks, Broadview Post Office Officer in Charge Adele Ballard and Postmaster Relief Jayne Lee managed to locate a family that agreed to adopt them.

“I would like to recognize all three ladies with their combined efforts is the survival of the 96 chicks,” said Brown.

Augmented Reality

Sample Augmented Reality navigation image.

Sample Augmented Reality navigation image.

In a popular movie about a cyborg that travels back in time to alter the future, the metallic creation uses an enhanced visual display to provide it with critical information. The data, ranging from the dimensions of objects to environmental conditions, is overlaid onto the live visual display of the cyborg’s vision. While this might have seemed like a vision of futuristic fantasy when the movie was originally released in the 1980s, the reality of modern technology has made such visual displays readily available to the general public through standard smartphones.

Augmented Reality (AR) is seen in everything from sports games, to GPS navigation, to medical process enhancements, and in recent years, has migrated its way into applications for smartphones. One of the growing uses of such smartphone apps is to scan mail items enhanced with AR technology.

Similar to facial recognition technology, application software uses a mobile device’s built-in camera to scan and recognize an image printed on a mail piece. The technology then utilizes the characteristics of a specific image to trigger a digital response, displaying videos, an assortment of widgets and other useful information.

While use of the technology is expanding every year, potential applications of its abilities are still in the infancy stage of development.

How do you see AR technology expanding in the coming years?

Your Snacks Are in the Mail

Your snakcs are in the mail

Many people enjoy a pleasant surprise in the mail every now and then, and more frequently when possible. With a particular service introduced by a handful of companies, that pleasant surprise could become a snacking delight.

Several companies offer customers the opportunity to receive snacks in the mail through a subscription-based service. Each company offers customers a variety of options to tailor the experience to unique tastes such as volume of content, frequency of delivery, or any particular ingredient preferences such as sugar or gluten free content. Customers may or may not be able to select the particular snacks they wish to receive each month depending on company options, but even when snack connoisseurs are unable to choose specific items, they can usually identify an item type they’d like to try in the future.

Companies involved in treat deliveries include:

With an anticipatory sense of wonder at specific content, a box of treats might be a good way to reward someone, or oneself, with a well-deserved surprise in the mail.

Postal Pride on Parade

Postal pride on parade

Last week, employees at the Miles City, MT, Post Office made their second annual appearance in the People’s Parade. The Independence Day event captured the attention of the local community with a little help from the always patriotic colors of the USPS Long-Life Vehicle.

Postmaster Stephen Miller received the original idea to participate in the parade from his wife shortly after his installation as Postmaster in 2013. Employees were eager to jump on board and donated their time and decorating expertise to give their entry in the parade an extra red, white, and blue boost.

“We used a trailer for our float last year, and I pulled it with my truck,” said Miller. “We had a collection box on the trailer with hay bales and lots of red, white and blue banners, bows and accessories.

“This year, we didn’t have much time to prepare for the 4th of July event, but we received permission from Manager of Post Office Operations Ronda Mailey to use the LLV and were eager to get started. Everyone worked together as a team to decorate the LLV on the morning of the parade. We also promoted our Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express during the parade and it was a big success!”

58-Year Employee Retires

Dessie Richmond with family members.

Dessie Richmond with family members.

Shortly after his 85th birthday, Dessie Richmond made the decision to retire after enjoying a career that spanned 58 years at USPS. He began his service in 1956 as a custodian, and has spent his entire career at the Minneapolis Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). During his time in Minneapolis, Richmond tried his hand at a variety of maintenance positions until he finally settled on the one he would retire from – supervisor of maintenance operations.

His fondest memory of the Postal Service is that he’s had steady work – the opportunity to come in every day, do his job, and be rewarded in a manner that met his needs. “When you’ve got a job, when you can pay your bills, the rest of your life just goes that much easier,” he said.

Richmond says he’ll miss the daily sharing of work, conversation and laughs with co-workers.

“I’ve stayed around because we have a really good crew here. These are folks who want to come in and do a good job.”

As he heads off into retirement, Richmond offers the following advice to his fellow employees. “Treat people with respect. I’ve always wanted to treat people the way I’d like to be treated and I think that’s worked well.

“It’s been a good career for me. I started out pushing a broom and got to work my way up a bit. That’s a pretty good deal.”


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