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The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

What do USPS workers go through this time of year?

A postal carrier delivers mail dressed as Santa Claus
Google Images
A postal carrier delivers mail dressed as Santa Claus

Mail carriers go through many different physical and mental conditions throughout the year, but winter in the Midwest seems to be the hardest for most. With Christmas time being hectic in itself, weather this time of year doesn’t always permit for easy delivery, either. Working for the U.S post office is a tough job on the mind and on the body.

   “The hardest part of being a letter carrier during the winter is dealing with the elements,” said John Hahn, a local mailman.

   Endurance is one quality mail carriers must have. They need to be able to persevere through cold, hard winters and long, hot summers. These past few winters have been especially tough. Mailmen and women often have to bundle up with multiple layers of clothes, while still having to keep their hands free to flip through the mail.

   “No matter how many layers I put on to keep my core warm, I still have to keep my fingers free to flip through the letters,” said Hahn. “I can’t work the mail with gloves or mittens on, so my hands are always freezing, and when your hands are cold, your body stays cold, no matter how many layers you’re wearing. In sub-zero temperatures, it becomes almost impossible.”

   Just a few years ago, on Thursday, January 31st, 2019, the temperature in Mount Carroll, Illinois, reached a record low for our area of -38°F. That is just one example from the large spectrum of difficulties and challenges mail carriers have to overcome when doing their job.

   In the winter, some of the hardest things for mail carriers to do are parking by the people’s mailbox and making their way to their porches to deliver packages, especially as Christmas approaches. Mail carriers collectively deliver more than 28 million packages per day between Dec. 16-21, and average 20.5 million packages per day through the remainder of the year. On average per person, it’s about 200 per day.

   But how do they have the strength to persevere through the winter season? The oath a mail carrier takes when they are hired is an important component of what keeps them going.

   “What keeps me going during the worst days of winter is the oath I took when I got hired,” said Hahn. “Mail delivery is a service to the American people, and is guaranteed by the constitution. I take that duty seriously.”

   One perk many mailmen get from doing their job is making friendly conversation with the people on their route. Sometimes kids will leave presents for the mailman at Christmas time, showing how much they value the hard work put in by mail carriers around the world.

   Another thing many mail carriers love about their job, especially during the Christmas season, is knowing that they are spreading joy by bringing gifts to the people. There’s that good feeling you get by gift giving that cannot be replaced by anything else.

   “When my fingers are frozen and I’m trudging through a foot of snow with tiny icicles hanging from my eyelids, I just repeat to myself the mailman creed: ‘Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.’”

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Charlie Hahn, Features Editor

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