An unforgettable 20th birthday

Customer Services Supervisor Leon Hernandez shows Andra, Sarah, and Sarah’s sister-in-law how the mail is sorted each day.

Customer Services Supervisor Leon Hernandez shows Andra, Sarah, and Sarah’s sister-in-law how the mail is sorted each day.

The birthday surprise began at the De Soto, KS, Post Office where Postmaster Luke Grant joined with employees to sort through hundreds of letters all addressed to one girl, Sarah Fugate, who recently turned 20.

Sarah was diagnosed with autism as a child, and although doctors said she wouldn’t live a long life, she defying the odds. Opening letters from the mail, in addition to collecting baby dolls, are among Sarah’s favorite hobbies. Sarah’s mother, Andra, wanted to give her daughter a special birthday treat, so she set up a Facebook page and asked if anyone would be interested in sending a card to Sarah for her birthday. More than 300 individuals from around the world responded by sending cards, letters and packages.

Sarah’s story also reached the desk of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, who all mailed her a special birthday letter.

“Dear Sarah, congrats on celebrating your 20th birthday,” Senator Moran’s letter read.

Knowing how much the mail meant to Sarah, Luke arranged a postal party and invited the entire Fugate family to the Desoto Post Office the following week. The party consisted of a personal tour of the Post Office and a postal vehicle, a gift of a new baby doll, a birthday card signed by De Soto employees, and lunch which included her favorite red velvet cake.

Andra was overwhelmed by the outpouring of birthday wishes for her daughter.

“This is the most special birthday ever,” said Andra. “Except for the first one because they told us we would never have a first one. So for it to be 20 is pretty awesome.”

Acting Manager Post Office Operations Tom Flynn shared his appreciation for the De Soto team in making Sarah’s 20th birthday a special one to remember.

“I would like to give special thanks to Postmaster Luke Grant and the entire De Soto Post Office staff for honoring a young girl’s wish and making her birthday an unforgettable one,” said Tom.

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