When the nation gets slammed by winter storms, Postal Service employees still manage to report for work in processing and distribution plants and Post Offices to make sure their customers get their mail on time.
The recent ice storms in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, for example, caused massive power outages including 600,000 homes. "Despite having no power at home, most of our employees are showing up for work to get the mail processed and delivered," said USPS Kentuckiana District Manager Chris Christenbury. "They take their responsibility very seriously."
Henlawson, West Virginia, Postmaster Relief Debbie Barnette certainly does. "I live on a hill that overlooks the Post Office. It’s about a 5 minute drive."
When the Postmaster called and asked her to come to work, she found a layer of ice on everything. "It was difficult to walk. I made it over to the curb to get in my car and, about the same time, I saw my grandson’s sled on the porch."
Her five minute drive turned into a 10-15 second slide. "I was flying," she said laughing. "The last time I was on a sled was 20 years ago."
How customers can help
For many employees, getting to work is just the first hurdle; for others delivering the mail is the next. Every day, rural and letter carriers deliver more than 700 million pieces of mail.
"We really appreciate it when people clear the path to their mailbox," said Louisville Postmaster Steve Gregory. "For roadside boxes, customers should clear any snow piles created by snow plows that make it difficult for a carrier to reach the mailbox from the delivery vehicle. This is a problem, especially for rural carriers."
"Postal employees are a determined lot," said David Walton, spokesperson for the Kentuckiana District. "They take their responsibility to our customers very seriously."