Mail carriers did their best during ice storm

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Postal customers asked to clear snow, ice from mailboxes for rural delivery

By The Staff


First I would like to thank everyone who cleaned their steps, porches and in front of their mail boxes during the recent snow and ice; it was a tremendous help.

Further, I would like to thank the employees who came to work every day – some of whom did not have electricity for several days at home, and yet made every effort to get the mail delivered.

I would like to address the issue of why many deliveries were not made. The safety of the employees is a high priority with the U.S. Postal Service. The city carriers walk from house to house with the mail bag on their shoulder. When they begin a relay, the mail bag can weigh as much as 40 pounds.

Imagine walking up icy steps with 40 pounds of mail on your shoulder, and  then do this repeatedly for six hours.

Rural carriers drive their own vehicles. They are not required to have a four-wheel-drive vehicle. For most of them, this is also their personal vehicle.

The road department does its job and plows the roads. When this happens, the snow and ice gets piled up alongside the road, and usually makes it very difficult – if not impossible – for the carriers to get to the mailboxes.

Most carriers deliver to more than 500 mailboxes a day. It is not the responsibility of your carrier or the postal service to clean in front of your mail box. They cannot get out at each and every box, climb over the snowbanks and put your mail in the mailbox.

Each and every customer had a story about what the conditions are like in front of their mailbox. A 3-foot to 6-foot clearing is not enough room for the carrier to get in and out from the box.

A 2-foot-tall pile of snow and ice in front of the box makes it very difficult for the carrier to reach your box.

Please take a minute and look at this situation from your carrier’s point of view: Can you and would you drive your vehicle into that pile of snow and ice?

I realize that our job is to deliver your mail, but we must do it in a safe and efficient manner.

Hopefully we are over the worst of the winter weather, amd everyone soon will have their electricity restored and life will soon get back to normal. Times are hard, and everyone has concerns, problems and issues.

Please take a moment to think about those who were out there doing their best; the road department, city and county employees; the electric companies; cable company; the police and fire departments – and your mail carrier.

Lamar R. Fowler