To most Americans, the Postal Service is a seamless operation: mail a letter and it gets to its destination as promised. But behind the service are 620,000 employees, each with their own stories to tell — on and off the job.
Consumer Affairs Clerk Connie Dulworth with her lemon juice.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation television show fan Connie Dulworth did a little investigating of her own when a small package, with no visible address, landed on her desk.
"Apparently, it reached New Albany, IN, with the address still on it. On its way to CFS (computerized forwarding system) the label came off," said the Louisville, KY, Consumer Affairs clerk. "It was from the VA Hospital and we could tell it contained medication."
Using a magnifying glass, Dulworth was only able to make out the ZIP Code. "We did everything we could think of; held it up to light; everything."
That evening, Dulworth was watching a CSI episode which showed investigators in a similar situation — they couldn’t read an address on an envelope, so they applied lemon juice.
Dulworth duplicated the CSI process the next day. "They used an applicator, I just dabbed a little on with my finger and it worked!
"We were able to read the original address, so we were able to forward it," she said. Another case solved.
Sixty Years of Safe Driving
In Chapel Hill, NC, 83-year-old Rudy Tempesta — the oldest active letter carrier in the state — was recently inducted into the National Safety Council’s Two Million Mile Club for driving 60 years without an at-fault accident.
Tempesta started his postal career in New York City 63 years ago right after serving in World War II. "Drive slowly, be careful and anticipate what you’re going to do," he said. "And this is a college town; so don’t let the girls distract you."
Chapel Hill, NC, Letter Carrier Rudy Tempesta talks with reporters about his 60 years of accident-free driving.
One of every four postal employees is a military veteran and more than 1,200 employees are currently on active duty.
Akron 5 Points Post Office Custodian — and Navy Reservist — Gary Wyatt is one of the many employees serving the Postal Service and the military at the same time.
Wyatt has 23 years of service in the Navy and most recently had the honor of escorting NASA astronauts and the NASA lunar electronic rover in the inauguration parade for President Barack Obama.
”It was history for me as an individual and as an American to be part of such a historic event,” said Wyatt. "It was an honor to represent Akron and the state of Ohio."
Wyatt, a petty officer first class, trains at the Navy Operations Support Center in Akron.
Custodian and Navy Reservist Gary Wyatt
Every Employee is in Sales
Several programs are in place for employees to introduce postal products and services to customers. In Tewksbury, MA, letter and rural carriers also deliver Stamps by Mail order forms every quarter to their customers.
Not only has the effort raised revenue at the Post Office by 18 percent, but residents — especially the elderly — appreciate the service.
Tewksbury, MA, Retail Associate Cassie Lambert fills Stamps by Mail requests.
A Man with a Plan
Postmasters across the nation organize stamp events, customer appreciation days and Post Office renaming ceremonies.
In Kentucky, Fairview Postmaster John Barkman is known as the go to guy if you’re having an event. During his 23-year career he’s put together dozens of special events including one to honor Fairview native General Joseph W. Ralston, then a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton Administration.
"The event drew thousands of people and featured skydivers, the 101st Airborne Division Band, an M1 tank, a flight simulator, a $3,000 cake General Ralston cut with a saber and, the highlight of the event, a flyover by a C-141," said Barkman. "The entire community helped pay for the event. I did the coordination, but it didn’t cost the Postal Service anything."
One of Barkman’s more recent success stories was a letter writing campaign for students at Christian County Head Start held in conjunction with the release of the Amber Alert stamp.
Volunteers helped pre-schoolers write postcards to their parents and then the students dropped the mail into a 2×3 collection box at the school’s miniature Post Office.
"If my name is on it I want it done right," Barkman said.
Fairview, KY, Postmaster John Barkman is known for his event organizing skills.