Preschoolers fascinated by postal magic

Preschool students received a behind-the-scenes look at the journey of their letters recently at the Redmond, OR, Post Office. The expedition started with a simple letter drop in the lobby and quickly expanded into a mesmerizing demonstration of precision operations.

Retail Associate Jennifer Stites and Postmaster Scott Harsh began the tour with 17 students dropping their letters into the lobby drop box. Stites and Harsh then escorted the kids behind the scenes where the real postal magic happens.

Children had a chance to see the hampers that caught their mail and then watched the sortation process. They also learned how postal trucks take the mail inside containers to other cities and how carriers prepare the mail for delivery to their homes.

“We even discussed safety measures we employ at the Post Office and how they can stay safe by avoiding playing around vehicles in their neighborhood,” said Harsh.

Youngsters asked many questions during their visit, including how mail is processed, where staff keeps their dogs, and how the skylights work.

“You are a lot like Santa Clause, but every day!” said one of the students.

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Mail moments of nostalgia and networking

Left: Elena Heer (L), daughter of Guernsey, WY, Clerk Jane Heer and Guernsey Postmaster  Curt Artery saddled up under the light of a full moon during a recent Pony Express ride  reenactment. Right: Author Laura Vanderkam uses personalized stationery when keeping in touch with friends and contacts.

Left: Elena Heer (L), daughter of Guernsey, WY, Clerk Jane Heer and Guernsey Postmaster
Curt Artery saddled up under the light of a full moon during a recent Pony Express ride
reenactment. Right: Author Laura Vanderkam uses personalized stationery when keeping in touch with friends and contacts.

Get an audio peek behind the scenes of a Pony Express ride reenactment on the new edition of Your Postal Podcast, online now.

You’ll also hear from the author of a recent Fast Company article on how to network with others through the mail.

The podcast is optimized for mobile listening – just go to YourPostalPodcast.com/mobile on your personal mobile device. You can also listen to the program by searching for “Your Postal Podcast” on iTunes or YouTube.

Both the audio and transcript versions of this month’s edition and an archive of previous shows are also available at YourPostalPodcast.com. If you have questions about how to access the podcast, please email us at yourpostalpodcast@usps.com.

Son thanks North Bend team on behalf of deceased mother

North Bend, NE, Retail Associates Cindy Madsen and Michelle Hoyt with Postmaster Sherry Carmichael

North Bend, NE, Retail Associates Cindy Madsen and Michelle Hoyt with Postmaster Sherry Carmichael

When a long-time postal customer recently passed away, her son wrote a letter to North Bend, NE, Post Office employees expressing his thanks for providing exceptional service that spanned 50 years. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

“As you no doubt know, my mother Mildred Emanuel recently passed away. She had mentioned to me how you went out of your way to help her pick up her mail. I wanted to express my gratitude for all the many kindnesses you and others in your office had extended to her.

I started writing letters to my mother 50 years ago this fall when I went off to school. For the past several years, I’ve tried to write to her weekly, each letter with a different stamp design. After two years she asked, ‘Where do you get all those different stamps?’ I wrote back, ‘Stamps by Mail.’

Please give my compliments to all in your office, and if it were possible, to all the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service for the reliable service you provided (and at bargain rates!). My mother was the type of person who didn’t want flowers or knickknacks or other things for gifts. What do you give to someone who wants nothing? Answer: a handwritten letter – always a welcomed gift for a loved one who has everything. Thank you for making that possible 52 weeks a year for over 50 years.

Sincerely, Eric”

Greatest pen pals

Left: Stephanie Meade poses with Muhammad Ali after meeting him in person for the first time at a 1991 charity event.  Right:  Meade met Ali again in 2014 at his home in Louisville, KY. (Photos courtesy Stephanie Meade)

Left: Stephanie Meade poses with Muhammad Ali after meeting him in person for the first time at a 1991 charity event.
Right: Meade met Ali again in 2014 at his home in Louisville, KY.
(Photos courtesy of Stephanie Meade)

At age 10, Stephanie Meade of Seattle sent a letter to legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali — with no street address. That sparked what became a three-decade exchange of letters between Ali and his young fan. Listen to their story in the latest edition of Your Postal Podcast, available now at YourPostalPodcast.com.

Both the audio and transcript versions of this edition and an archive of previous shows are available at: YourPostalPodcast.com. You can also listen to the podcast on your mobile device at YourPostalPodcast.com/mobile, or search “Your Postal Podcast” at the iTunes Store or YouTube.

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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.

Elementary Kids Receive Special Delivery

Stoneyridge Carrier Annex City Carrier Bill Westmore.

Stoneyridge Carrier Annex City Carrier Bill Westmore.

November is letter writing month for Reagan Elementary School. For the past several years, they’ve invited Omaha, NE, Postmaster, Keith Reid to stop and visit their second grade classes, and this year was no exception.

Postmaster Reid not only spoke about the importance of letter writing, he also took time to read 7 Little Postmen to over 80 children in attendance. During his visit, Reid presented a coloring book and a yo-yo with a postal logo as special gifts to each student.

The children also received a special treat as Stoneyridge Carrier Annex City Carrier Bill Westmore stopped by with his vehicle for a visit. Westmore spoke to the students about the delivery of mail and safety around a postal vehicle when the carrier comes into their neighborhood. He also spoke about dog safety and the importance of keeping their dog under control when the carrier delivers mail. The students had the chance to go through the LLV to see how different it is from their family vehicles.

“I always look forward to and enjoy Keith’s presentation,” said second grade teacher Jessica Bader.

Omaha, NE, Postmaster Keith Reid.

Omaha, NE, Postmaster Keith Reid.

Mailbox Helps Firefighters Stay in Touch with Friends and Loved Ones

Mailbox and firefighters

The Wenatchee valley area in north central Washington state suffered severe wildfires early this summer that destroyed a number of homes and thousands of acres of forest land.

Fire fighters from around the northwest spent weeks battling the fires. They set up an Incident Command Center at the Cashmere Middle School where the fire fighters established temporary quarters.

Cashmere City Carrier Jim Kimber came up with a plan to assist the away from home fire fighters to keep in touch with their families. With approval from Cashmere Postmaster Steve Pierson, Kimber designed and built a secure box for fire fighters to deposit outgoing mail. He set it up in the camp and stopped by each day to collect the mail.

Kimber received a letter of thanks from Nathan Rabe, Incident Commander. It read in part:

“At the peak of the incident, we had almost 400 fire fighters and support crew working to contain the fires.  (We) would like to thank you for helping (us) get set up with a mailbox. Your hand-crafted box made it possible for our fire fighters to send letters back to their loved ones, keeping them in touch. We also appreciate your help in picking up the mail.”

From Me To You

From me to you

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates April as National Card and Letter Writing Month by issuing colorful Forever stamps sheets complete with decorative stickers for personalizing envelopes, letters and greeting cards. The Postal Service is collaborating with Scholastic to provide an educators’ guide on teaching letter writing titled, “It’s a Delight to Write,” that will be distributed to 80,000 teachers and 7.3 million parents nationwide.

National Classroom Writing Program

The national writing program, “It’s a Delight to Write,” is designed to encourage letter writing through a classroom poster-teaching guide that will be distributed to more than 80,000 teachers nationwide. The guide features lessons on writing letters, plus writing activities for students including: “Mystery Mail,” a fun writing game to get students to learn more about each other. “Post Pocket Pals,” an activity to create pen pals around the world and “Fan Mail,” a guide to writing letters to favorite authors. The program also includes parent take-home activities to encourage family writing night and comes with a cut-out postcard to get kids started. An “It’s a Delight to Write” perforated postcard is included in the April issue of Scholastic Parent & Child magazine, which reaches 7.3 million readers.

Decorative Stickers Deliver Greetings

The limited edition Forever stamps bear the words “From Me To You” in capital letters. Surrounding the 4 rows of stamps in the center of the sheet are colorful self-adhesive stickers. The 11 labels at the top of the sheet, in the shapes of hearts, circles, and rectangles, carry messages such as “Happy Birthday,” “Miss You,” “Thank You” and “Get Well Soon.” Along the sides and bottom of the sheet are 26 decorative stickers including hearts, envelopes, flowers, mailboxes, and a kiss (red lips).

The stamps are now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide or visit ebay.com/stamps to shop for a wide variety of postage stamps and collectibles.

From me to you 2

Special Delivery

Young mail enthusiasts drop letters in the outgoing mail slot at the Leadville, CO, Post Office.

Young mail enthusiasts drop letters in the outgoing mail slot at the Leadville, CO, Post Office.

At an early age, children are taught a variety of life skills such as reading, writing, tying  their shoes, and at one education center in Colorado, how to mail a letter.

Each year, preschool children at The Center, an early childhood education school in Leadville, create mailboxes in their classrooms and ask friends and family to mail them letters during the “Mail Month” of February. When letters are delivered to the school, one child is chosen to dress up as a carrier and deliver the special messages to the mailboxes. A different child is chosen for the task each day.

In addition to the experience of receiving letters, the young mail enthusiasts also visited the Leadville Post Office to mail their own letters to friends and family. During their field trip, the children also took a behind-the-scenes tour of postal operations at the facility.

Letters to Santa

Letters to santa 2013

When your child sends a letter to Santa, would you like to send back an “official” looking reply? You can do just that with a postmark from North Pole, AK.

Place your special message inside an envelope addressed to your child, affix the correct amount of postage, add “Santa, North Pole” as the return address, then place the envelope inside a larger envelope and mail it to the address above. The postmark also works well with cards and letters sent to other family members and friends too.

All cards and letters must be received in Anchorage, AK, by Dec. 10, so mail them soon.

  • 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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