Senator gives oath of office to new Postmasters

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Montana Senator Jon Tester assisted in the process of giving the oath of office to 11 newly promoted Postmasters in Great Falls, MT, recently. Family members of the Postmasters had the chance to watch the process and celebrate loved ones as they accepted the appointments. As a thank you for his assistance, Tester was presented with a framed stamp art keepsake from the recently released National Parks Forever stamp series.

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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.

Historic pride

Junction City, KS, Postmaster Charles Lincoln (Postmaster over White City) and White City, KS, RMPO Retail Associate Lawrence Reece.

Junction City, KS, Postmaster Charles Lincoln (Postmaster over White City) and White City, KS, RMPO Retail Associate Lawrence Reece.

When the White City, KS, Post Office received a special document from the 19th century, the local newspaper took notice.

Albert C. Buck was the first Postmaster of the White City Post Office on January 21, 1884. His great-granddaughter, Kathreen McKerrow, discovered the official declaration from Postmaster General Walter Q. Gresham appointing Buck as White City’s Postmaster. McKerrow knew the value of the document, and made a special trip from Flower, MT, to White City to present the appointment to Post Office employees, and to see the city where her great-grandfather served as Postmaster.

Employees at White City were moved by the special delivery, and paid to preserve and frame the historic document. When the local newspaper, Prairie Post, received word of the unique item displayed with pride at the Post Office, it chronicled the adventure and featured it with a photo of the document in its publication.

Postmaster Retires After 67 Years of Service

Redig, SD, Postmaster Edgar Kumley and Dakotas District Manager Darrell Stoke.

Redig, SD, Postmaster Edgar Kumley and Dakotas District Manager Darrell Stoke.

Since his hospital records were lost in a fire years ago, Edgar Kumley can’t tell people his exact age.

But in postal years, he’s 67, and counting.

That’s 67 years of service as Postmaster at Redig, SD. Appointed acting Postmaster in 1948 by President Harry Truman, Kumley had the interim tag removed from his name a year later. And he’s been providing service to this unincorporated community in far northwestern South Dakota (considered too small to track by the Census Bureau) ever since.

“I’ve never met a problem I couldn’t solve,” Kumley told the Rapid City Journal at a gathering that celebrated his official retirement in January. He leaves as the third-longest serving Postmaster at the same office in USPS history.

“I’ve never met anybody with more years of service than Edgar,” said Dakotas District Manager Darrell Stoke. “It’s unique dedication and commitment. It’s irreplaceable, the service he’s given.”

While Kumley is officially retired, his legacy of service will continue. He’s signed on, as an annuitant, to continue as Postmaster Relief at the Redig office.

Albuquerque’s First Female Carrier Retires

Albuquerque carrierIn 1973, Carolyn Gustafson was the second female letter carrier hired at the Naperville, IL, Post Office. Though the position was challenging, she enjoyed the work and stayed in the same office for five years until she decided it was time to move to a warmer climate.

After an exploratory visit, Gustafson decided to make the transition to Albuquerque, NM, in 1978, and in doing so, became the first female letter carrier in the city. She was promoted to customer services supervisor 9 years later and served in other supervisory capacities before eventually becoming the Postmaster of Elephant Butte, NM. On March 3, Gustafson will finish her postal career with 41 years of service.

“I have been blessed with a wonderful career and have come to realize that it is time for me to go,” said Gustafson. ”I have made many friends and will miss everyone.”

Postmasters Run in the Martinez Family

Melissa Waterman, Josh Martinez, Joe Martinez and Matt Martinez.

Melissa Waterman, Josh Martinez, Joe Martinez and Matt Martinez.

When Josh Martinez was recently named Postmaster at Annandale, MN, the appointment came with what may be a unique opportunity.

Josh, along with his brother Matt (Gibbon, MN) and sister Melissa Waterman (Rockford, MN) took the oath of office administered by their father, retired Tomah, WI, Postmaster Joe Martinez.

Joe says that he always encouraged his children to at least consider a postal career and especially encouraged them to look at management opportunities because “that’s where you can put what you’ve learned as a craft employee to work, to really make a difference.” To see where his three kids are today was a special moment for the proud dad.

“A real once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “To be able to swear in my three kids, I could hardly believe it.”

In addition, Matt’s wife Kimberly is Postmaster in Gaylord, MN, and Melissa’s late husband, Tim Waterman, was Postmaster at Maple Grove, MN. “We’re just one, big, happy postal family,” Kimberly Martinez says.

Postmaster Goes the Extra Mile

Even during uncertain times, postal employees will go the extra mile for their customers. Postmaster Shareen Wertz in Evans, CO, demonstrated this on Mother’s Day weekend in May 2012.

One of Shareen’s customers entered into her office Saturday looking for medication that was sent via Express Mail. The family was distraught, as the young son needed this medicine by 11:00 a.m. the following day. Shareen took the customer’s after hours contact information and told the family that if it came in over the weekend, she would ensure they were notified.

Shareen contacted the Tour 1 and Tour 3 supervisors in the Express Mail office and gave them her after hour contact info with instructions to call her if the item came in. She received that call at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning. After she was told that the item had been located, Shareen got up early Mother’s Day morning, went to the plant and accepted the article. She then drove it back to Evans and delivered the item. After the family received the much needed medication, Shareen was back home by 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning to enjoy the rest of her Mother’s Day.

What extraordinary measures of customer service have you come across?

New Plan Keeps Offices Open, but Reduces Hours for Some

The U.S. Postal Service announced a new strategy yesterday that could keep the nation’s smallest Post Offices open for business, while providing a framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability. 
The plan would keep existing Post Offices in place, but with modified retail window hours to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and to PO Boxes would remain unchanged, and the town’s ZIP Code and community identity would be retained.
The new strategy would be implemented over a two-year, multi-phased approach and would not be completed until September 2014. Once implementation is completed, the Postal Service estimates savings of a half billion dollars annually. 
A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.
So, what do you think about the plan?  What are postal customers saying? Comment here.
  • 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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