time of year when I begin to hear about the men and women of the Postal Service
and their giant hearts. From helping families on their mail routes to donating
to charities in their communities, there doesn’t seem to be an end to their
Ohio, Postmaster Curtis Pegram and his staff are gearing up for the holidays by
helping local military personnel — and their families — currently serving in
Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year
Pegram paid to ship more than 50 Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes to local troops serving
in the Middle East. “It cost me about $1,000 which wasn’t a big deal, but it
was for this community,” he said.
Last year I received calls from customers all
over this area,” he said. “I told them I didn’t care where they lived. If they
brought it to the Hillsboro Post Office, the shipping was free during the month
The local news media helped
Pegram get the word out, and Highland County school superintendents enlisted
the help of students to write more than 1,600 letters to soldiers. “Last year
one of my rural carriers, a Vietnam veteran, asked about the letters.” Later
Pegram said he found his employee sitting on the floor outside his office with
the letters in his lap crying. He said to me, ‘you don’t
understand what you have here, you really don’t. Troops treat these like gold,’”
Pegram said, holding back his own emotions.
Along with snacks, books, socks
and any number of other items soldiers often ask for, the Times Gazette and Highland
County Press both plan to donate copies of their Thanksgiving edition to be
included in each care package.
The Times Gazette
also plans to run a special insert featuring all of the children’s letters. “I’m not a veteran,” said Pegram. “But when
men come into the office—many of them with a connection to
active military personnel — and want to shake my hand and hug me, or a mother
is crying as she stands in line waiting to mail her military bound package,
well, I know what I’m doing is a good thing.”
Pegram says he also receives
letters and packages from soldiers. One from Iraq was from a Black Hawk
helicopter platoon. “The letter said: ‘We flew this into battle and when we got
back these boxes were sitting there for us. We just want you to have this flag.
We all voted.”
“The entire community is involved,” said
Pegram. Support the Troops organization recently held a promotion at a local
college and will be bringing in those parcels. Lynchburg Elementary School
students also put together packages. Plus, the office has 26 names and
addresses from residents who can’t afford to send anything to their loved ones.
Pegram and his staff will put together care packages for these soldiers.
Our current revenue is up and it’s
a direct reflection of the program,” he said. “People are buying more while
they’re here. I love this. It’s good for us and good for them.