Home flooding averted thanks to keen-eyed carrier


The Postmaster of Littleton, CO, received a letter from a customer who wanted to thank her letter carrier, Jon Crane, for stopping … a home flood.

A pipe leading outdoors to a sprinkler system had burst during a cold snap while the customer was away from home. While on his route, Crane noticed the gushing water, walked over and turned off the valve.

“He was the reason my basement had only two inches of water instead of two feet, saving our home untold damage,” the customer wrote.

Severe Flooding Wreaks Havoc on Border Towns

Photos courtesy of MDZ Photography.

Photo courtesy of MDZ Photography.

During a severe flash flood in Colorado City, AZ, and Hildale, UT, last week, a powerful collection of water, mud and debris coursed its way down city streets, underneath bridges, and across the land. Search and rescue personnel worked tirelessly to find those swept up in the flooding, though not everyone could be saved.

While the aftermath of the storm required substantial effort and heavy machinery to clear, the Colorado City Post Office, which also serves the Hildale community, withstood nature’s fury relatively unscathed.

Post Office staff avoided injury from the destructive storm and opened the office for business as schedule the next day.

No Obstacle Too Large

Contract Driver Rusty Wheeler.

Contract Driver Rusty Wheeler.

Sedalia, CO, Contract Driver Rusty Wheeler has a long route – 100 miles or so, delivering through the Pike National Forest. He delivers to summer homes, year-round residents, summer camps and dude ranches. Historic flows on the Platte River recently closed eight bridges in the area, causing limited access. In the face of these obstacles, Wheeler did what he does best; he improvised.

Wheeler discovered a way to deliver without using the bridges, but the diversion cost him three hours and more than 75 miles.

On the first day of bridge closures, he was in contact with a cluster of three summer camps on the other side of the Trumbull Bridge. Although vehicle traffic wasn’t allowed, the camps brought over a wheelbarrow, met Wheeler on the other side, and he filled the improvised mailbox.

This isn’t the first natural disaster for the 17-year CDS driver. He’s delivered through blizzards, diverted around forest fires, and has to deal with other flooding issues.

“The best part of my route is going out no matter what, even with the fires,” said Wheeler. “It is some of the most beautiful part of the country.”

Upon reflection of his career, Wheeler fondly remembered one of the best times on his route a few years ago when the road to a summer camp had washed out, but he had been allowed to pass through.

“After I finished my route that day, I went back to Y Camp, took them some water and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids.”

National Preparedness Month

National preparedness month

Nobody knows exactly when or where a disaster may happen in the future, but while clairvoyance is unlikely, it is possible to plan in advance for a disaster.

Now in its 10th anniversary, September is National Preparedness Month – a time to enhance awareness of the need to prepare for disaster before it happens. Preparation is often the most crucial element in properly dealing with disaster when it strikes. The steps taken today in assembling an emergency supply kit as well as planning and practicing an evacuation and communications plan can make an important difference when time is of the essence.

For more information on National Preparedness Month and how to participate in disaster preparation, go to: http://www.ready.gov/september.

Community Celebrates Reopening of Local Post Office

Cheryl Miles

Postmaster Relief Cheryl Jiles spent five months operating out of her COOP location after floodwaters swamped the town of Drake, CO. The Post Office had two feet of water running through the building, impacting mail for more than 400 people. New electrical, plumbing, flooring and furniture were among the repairs required.

“I kept telling people to watch for the flag,” said Jiles. “It was a great feeling to raise the flag and open our door for business.“

People from the community brought cookies, cakes, and plenty of smiles to the reopening.

Above and Beyond

Above and beyond

First there was fire. Then there was flood. The Manitou, CO, Post Office was impacted by the fast-moving Waldo Canyon fire last year that destroyed more than 300 homes.

This year, flash floods have washed over the burn area over several days, depositing debris throughout the downtown, flooding homes and closing highways. Cars, mud, and boulders blocked access to the Post Office until city officials cleared a path and the carriers were able to dispatch to their routes.

“The carriers are going above and beyond to get mail to our customers,” said Postmaster Rick Medina. “They’re resilient.”

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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