Carrier credited with saving community from dangerous gas leak

Salt Lake City, UT, Murray Branch City Carrier Brian Whipple

While Salt Lake City, UT, Murray Branch City Carrier Brian Whipple was on his route recently, he noticed a familiar odor. The rotten egg smell infused into natural gas filled the air, and he knew it could spell trouble if not addressed immediately.

Whipple picked up his phone and called the local natural gas company. A company representative thanked him for the information and Whipple continued on his route.

When the company investigated the leak, it discovered a break in the main line. The company evacuated three nearby homes and placed their occupants in a hotel until the situation could be resolved.

Soon after residents were allowed to return to their homes, one customer sent a thank you card to Whipple for his conscientious actions.

“Thank you so much for sniffing gas!” the letter stated. “It’s not much, but I wanted to get you a little something for being alert and preventing my house from blowing up.

“Thanks again! You do a fantastic job and always go above and beyond. I appreciate it!”

Uncle Sam’s Hat

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The Postal Service celebrates one of our country’s most popular patriotic characters with the release of Uncle Sam’s Hat. Uncle Sam has represented the bravery and fortitude of the American spirit for more than 150 years.

The stamp features eight graphic top hats in Uncle Sam’s signature style, with red and white vertical stripes above a blue band with a white star and a gray brim. Beneath each hat is an oval shape representing a face, each in a different shade, meant to suggest the ethnic and racial diversity of the United States.

The creation of Uncle Sam as a popular icon in American culture is associated with a businessman named Sam Wilson of Troy, New York. Wilson, who was often called Uncle Sam by his devoted workers, operated a successful slaughterhouse and meatpacking business for decades. When war broke out in 1812, he signed a contract to become a supplier of canned beef and pork for the American troops stationed in New York. Stamped with U.S. by the Army to denote their provenance, his cans became known as Uncle Sam’s meat by the soldiers. Uncle Sam soon turned into a nickname for the United States. By the 1830s, the character began appearing in cartoons and advertisements.

Many artists have depicted their own versions of this important figure throughout the years. Uncle Sam’s dress and appearance have evolved since his first iteration, but certain distinguishing elements help make him instantly recognizable and timeless: a dress coat with long tails, red-and-white striped pants, white whiskers, a stoic expression, and a top hat. Looking like a wise, flinty old uncle not to be crossed in his patriotic uniform, Uncle Sam represents our nation’s values of liberty and strength.

The words ADDITIONAL OUNCE on this stamp indicate its usage value. Like a Forever stamp, this stamp will always be valid for the rate printed on it. The Uncle Sam’s Hat stamp is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Notes of appreciation

Distribution Clerk Irene Wilcox, Rural Carrier Associate Jake Duncan, Distribution Clerk Kevin Peterson, Rural Carrier Traci Peterson, Rural Carrier Associate Bo Elkins, Postmaster Scott Christensen, and Retail Associate Sue Prestwich. 

Distribution Clerk Irene Wilcox, Rural Carrier Associate Jake Duncan, Distribution Clerk Kevin Peterson, Rural Carrier Traci Peterson, Rural Carrier Associate Bo Elkins, Postmaster Scott Christensen, and Retail Associate Sue Prestwich.

When a customer recently sent notes of appreciation to the Snowflake, AZ, Post Office, the team was eager to share the positive messages.

“Thank you for all you do and for working on holiday!” the customer wrote in one note. “Also for serving our community! We appreciate you delivering our mail even though the weather is bad.”

The words of praise now adorn the lobby of the Snowflake Post Office for all to see, rain or shine.

Mount Pleasant celebrates success

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Employees at the Mount Pleasant, IA, Post Office recently celebrated the many accomplishments of team members who demonstrated outstanding efforts.

When a 4-year-old boy went missing, City Carrier Betty Lutz found him a few blocks away from his home. Lutz contacted the authorities as well as the boy’s parents, and waited with the boy for help to arrive. After the boy’s parents appeared on scene, the curious child was more interested in asking for a ride in Lutz’s LLV than in going home.

City Carrier Toi Mills noticed one of her customers hadn’t picked up mail from the previous day. Out of concern for her elderly customer, Mills contacted the police and asked them to perform a welfare check. When law enforcement arrived, they found the customer on the floor where he had remained for two days. He was taken to the hospital shortly thereafter.

Acting Supervisor Heather Trimble observed that one her rural carriers seemed ill before going out on the route one morning. She monitored his condition and became concerned that he was in more trouble than he realized. Trimble stopped him from going out on his route, and soon thereafter, it became clear he was having a heart attack. Taking advice from a 911 operator, Trimble performed life-saving actions until the paramedics could arrive. The carrier made a full recovery.

Dennis Coberley, Michael Reschly, Bill Hassenfritz and Shirley Hecker each received a National Safety Council Million Mile Award for their dedication to safe driving for at least 30 years.

National Consumer Protection Week

Scammers are on the lookout for new deceptive tricks to line their pockets with your cash, and they’ll use every technique in their arsenal to lie, cheat, and bully their way into your pockets. It’s up to you to protect yourself and loved ones from these criminals, but you’re not alone in the fight.

This week is National Consumer Protection Week, a time dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the tactics scammers might use to steal your hard-earned money, and how to prevent them from doing it.

The Postal Inspection Service has developed the website http://deliveringtrust.com to provide you with the tools you need to defend yourself against fraud. The website contains detailed information on a variety of fraudulent schemes including foreign lottery and sweepstakes scams, elder fraud, and how to report fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission also has a website at http://ncpw.gov that contains free consumer protection education materials, articles on the latest scams, and links to helpful resources.

Safe drivers celebrate success

Twin Falls, ID, City Carriers Rod Huber, Dean Ambrose, Dick Walker, and Doug Ahrens

Twin Falls, ID, City Carriers Rod Huber, Dean Ambrose, Dick Walker, and Doug Ahrens

Few things speak more highly of a person’s dedication to safe driving than the National Safety Council’s Million Mile Award. This prestigious honor is granted only to those who have driven for 30 years or one million miles without an at-fault accident. Recently, four drivers in Twin Falls, ID, accomplished this remarkable success.

City Carriers Rod Huber, Dean Ambrose, Dick Walker, and Doug Ahrens were each presented with the Million Mile Award by Postmaster Wendy Eckler. The Twin Falls team cheered the success of their coworkers with a donut celebration.

“I am extremely proud to have such safety-conscious drivers on my team,” said Eckler. “Their dedication is a great example for others to follow because at the end of the day, I want everyone to be able to go home safely to their families.”

Carrier rescues boys from harm. “I just did what I thought was right”

Omaha, NE, City Carrier Noreen Mintken with Postmaster Keith Reid

Omaha, NE, City Carrier Noreen Mintken with Postmaster Keith Reid

Omaha, NE, City Carrier Noreen Mintken was delivering mail along her route recently when she heard what she thought was a car backfiring. Soon afterward, two young boys came running around the corner yelling, “They have a gun and they’re shooting!”

Mintken yelled for the boys to follow her behind a nearby building. They heard at least six more shots followed by squealing tires.

After several minutes of silence, the boys wanted to go see what happened. Mintken knew that was a dangerous idea. Instead, she walked the boys to the safety of the nearby Boys and Girls Club. Later, a police officer told Mintken she and the boys were just 50 feet away from the shooting.

“I really didn’t think much of it,” said Mintken. “I just did what I thought was right.”

Customer Services Manager Harleynda Wilcox appreciates Mintken’s actions and is gratified to have her on the team.

“As the South Omaha Station Manager, I was proud to hear how one of my carriers helped small children reach safety in the midst of gunfire and confusion that was very close,” said Wilcox.

Warm hugs for generous heart

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Great Bend, KS, City Carrier Annette Schloemer was on her route recently when she spotted a young girl struggling to remove a valve stem cap from a flat tire on her old, rusty bicycle. Schloemer asked the girl if she needed assistance, and when the girl said yes, the dedicated carrier went to work.

Though Schloemer managed to remove the cap, the valve stem was damaged and didn’t permit the air pump nozzle to secure tightly against it. Unable to render further aid, Schloemer continued on her route.

During the rest of her shift, Schloemer thought about the girl and the poor condition of her bicycle. Those thoughts continued when she went to the store after the end of her shift and found a way to help.

Schloemer returned to the girl’s home after the shopping trip and presented her with a brand new bicycle. The girl’s face illuminated with joy when she received her gift, and immediately put it to use. Both the girl and her mother thanked Schloemer with bright smiles and grateful hugs.

Nebraska Statehood

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The Nebraska Statehood stamp celebrates the 150th anniversary of the state’s admission to the union on March 1, 1867. The photograph on this stamp was taken on the banks of the Platte River as sandhill cranes flew low overhead at sunset. At the onset of spring, half a million of these ancient birds return to the river during their annual migration, a spectacle unique to Nebraska. After a day spent feeding in fields nearby, they are seen here scouting for sandbars that provide nighttime roosts safe from riverbank predators.

“Nebraska” is derived from the Otoe and Omaha peoples’ phrase meaning “flat water” and “flat river.” The description originally referred to the wide, shallow river that flows eastward into the Missouri River, which serves as Nebraska’s eastern boundary. On early maps, French explorers labeled the river “Platte,” also meaning “flat.”

Territorial Nebraska was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the French land sale that nearly doubled U.S. territory. At the time, the territory of Nebraska included not only its present-day area but also portions of present-day Colorado, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana. Enormous buffalo herds on the plains had provided generations of sustenance to the Native American Pawnee people and many other area tribes. Decades after Lewis and Clark explored the newly purchased territory, the U.S. government still considered the land virtually useless—ironic in that Nebraska is now one of the nation’s agricultural giants, particularly in the production of beef, corn, and beans. Nicknamed the Cornhusker State, the 37th state admitted to the union also ranks 37th in population with almost 1.9 million residents.

Famous Nebraskans include former President Gerald Ford, born in Omaha but raised in Michigan, and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, a populist who helped shape the modern Democratic Party. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody mixed fact and myth in his thrilling Wild West show; his Scout’s Rest Ranch in North Platte is a state historical park. Other celebrated Nebraskans include show business icons Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, and Johnny Carson. Willa Cather’s novels, including O Pioneers! and My Ántonia, masterfully capture Nebraska frontier life.

The Nebraska Statehood stamp is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Oscar de la Renta

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As one of the world’s leading fashion designers for 50 years, Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014) created glamorous, sophisticated clothes that showcased the distinctively feminine attributes of the women who wore them. His innovative designs and close attention to detail elevated American style and brought international attention to New York as a world leader in fashion.

In 1956, 24-year-old de la Renta achieved his first success as a fashion designer. The wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain commissioned de la Renta to make a white debutante dress for her daughter. Later that year, she appeared on the cover of Life wearing the dress. Shortly thereafter, he began working in the Madrid atelier of legendary Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga. De la Renta learned how to work with complex fabric, studied proportions, perfected draping techniques, and gained an understanding of garment construction.

After later breaking into haute couture fashion in Paris, de la Renta moved to New York and began working at Elizabeth Arden in 1963. Two years later, he debuted his own collection for the first time. A rising star along Seventh Avenue, he captured the beauty and ease American women craved in their gowns and suits. He mingled just as confidently with the socialites of New York as he had in Paris and Madrid and sought to create both the day and evening wear that such powerful and influential women desired. With his highly polished style and tremendous skill, de la Renta bridged the gap between American and French fashion.

His garments were regularly featured on the covers of high fashion magazines and became glorious indulgences found in specialty stores around the country. His designs continue to represent the sophistication and international quality of fashion in the United States.

The Oscar de la Renta stamp collection is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

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