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By Jane Finley
NAPS Southeast Area Vice President
Each new year brings change—sometimes major, sometimes as minor as remembering to write the correct year on checks. But, nonetheless, there always is change. We now are three months into 2021 and many of us have given up on our new year’s resolutions and have settled back in the same routine.
We are creatures of habit; change is something that few of us have programmed into our DNA. We prefer to keep our same lifestyle and activities, making excuses for our backslides. We are resistant to change and usually find ways to avoid it, even if it is in our best interests.
That being said, we obviously are in for many changes in 2021 and, therefore, we must find ways to embrace the “new day.” An attitude adjustment might make coping easier, but that involves change, too.
There are challenges that remain from 2020. The pandemic is at its height as more and more people of all ages are being diagnosed and testing positive—many who are asymptomatic. The death rate continues to rise and hospitals are overwhelmed by a lack of staffing to handle the demand for critical care in emergency rooms and COVID isolation units.
Medical team frontline workers are our true heroes. The release of vaccines has brought a glimmer of hope to reducing the spread and getting control of this deadly virus that has halted any semblance of a normal lifestyle. I have had the privilege of helping many older adults without internet access to get their first vaccine shot by scheduling their appointments and finding transportation for those without caregivers nearby.
We all are in this together. I challenge each NAPS and Auxiliary member to find a way to help eligible persons in your community to get the vaccine. It is a matter of life or death.
When we address the issue of helping others, I always think of the longstanding effort NAPS makes to serve its members who find themselves in need of assistance and representation. When there is a problem, NAPS stands in the gap to ensure fair representation is provided. No member needs to make that journey alone; help is a phone call away.
On the legislative front, NAPS has an active and effective legislative team to represent the best interests of postal managers, supervisors, postmasters and their families on Capitol Hill.
So far, we have survived attacks on the very foundation and existence of the Postal Service. Our integrity and ability to perform have been tested by what seemed to be unprecedented odds to perform with skeleton staffs of craft and mid-level managers during the pandemic. Adding to the challenges was a presidential election with more absentee and mail-in ballots than ever before.
The threat of privatization or elimination of a mail service that serves every person in America seemed to hang in the balance. In the middle of this tense time, an editorial appeared in Georgia’s Marietta Daily Journal written by a retired clerk from the Acworth, GA, Post Office titled, “Destroying Something that Is a Service to the People.” I share the editorial below:
“I am appalled at what is being done to the U.S. Postal Service. I went to work at the Acworth Post Office, June 1, 1948, and worked 30 years. I sorted the mail when it came in to the box section and the rural carriers. I worked the window.
“When we started our first city delivery route in Acworth, I was Mr. Abbots’ substitute carrier. I later was the substitute on the next two city routes until I was made a regular clerk and worked in the office only. I was always so proud of my job and I was so happy to work for the Post Office, which started with mail being delivered on horseback.
“I feel that decisions made recently are destroying something that is a service to the people. I am really overwhelmed at what has been done that will hinder the mail being delivered on time.
“I will be 90 years old in a couple of months and I hope I live long enough to see the sorting machines and the blue boxes returned to their rightful places.
“Nancy Smith Maxwell”
During Maxwell’s final years of service, I was honored to serve as postmaster of Acworth, which was my first of three postmaster appointments. Maxwell, a native of that small town, was known as the icon of the USPS for her dedication and loyalty to each customer she had the opportunity to serve. She comes from a postal family; her two brothers also were postal employees.
It is through the pride of employees such as Maxwell and her brothers that the Postal Service has stood as a trusted, independent government agency. Major metropolitan areas have many options from which to choose regarding transporting and delivering mail.
However, in small communities that dot the countryside, the USPS is their only identity and source of communication for hard-copy documents, receipt of mail-order prescription drugs or a thoughtful note from someone who cares. May there always be a USPS to serve all of America with universal mail service.
Change is inevitable. I pray that the changes we experience in 2021 will be for the betterment of everyone. We need to be an example to the world by overcoming adversity, division and racial unrest as we unite together, being all for one and one for all.
Together, we can make it happen. Won’t you join me?