During last year’s “Rim Fire,” Sacramento’s Groveland Postmaster Norma Powell and her employees won praise from several quarters for providing assistance to firefighters, fire victims and USPS officials.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Rim Fire was one of the largest in state history. It started when a hunter lost control of an illegal campfire.
During the fire, Powell spent hours coordinating with local, state and federal agencies to ensure the safe travel of all USPS employees under her supervision. She gave Postal Inspectors her mobile phone number and continually sent updated emails on road closures, delayed mail and employee status. She also contacted community leaders to offer assistance to residents who needed to complete change-of-address forms or to place holds on their mail.
Powell also coordinated with local firefighters. She delivered mail addressed to them and traveled to Red Cross camps to offer assistance. While Powell was providing services and protecting postal property, her own home was in danger of being consumed by the fire.
In addition, Groveland employees and those from neighboring stations wanted to thank the firefighters and other volunteer personnel for all their hard work. They chipped in and bought over 700 postage-paid postcards and presented them to the workers for their use.
Although cell phone towers were set up, the reception was poor. The only way for workers to communicate with their families was by the postage-paid postcards provided by postal employees and others.
“My staff is always amazing,” said Powell. “But they’ve truly outdone themselves this time. I’m thankful for them and the brave men and women who risked their lives to battle this fire.”
In a letter to Powell, PMG Pat Donahoe stated, “I know the firefighters and employees appreciated your actions, and I am proud we are members of the same postal family.”