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Keep the light on

Ohio Postmaster remembers his first Christmas with USPS

First Christmas
Celina, OH, Postmaster Paul Joseph

Celina, OH, Postmaster Paul Joseph began his career as a letter carrier in 1990.

On his first Christmas Eve — after completing his route in eight inches of snow — Joseph was tasked to deliver Express Mail that had arrived late.

He called his wife to let her know he’d be late. “I could hear the disappointment in my wife’s voice, but she understood this was my job,” he said.

The snow kept coming down hard, but he gave it his all, nonetheless.

While on his last delivery, Joseph was stopped by the sheriff, who asked where he was headed. “I gave him the name and address, and he said, ‘Don’t bother. The road is blocked with snow and the customers are in Florida.’”

It was long, sad ride back to the station. “I had driven more than 150 miles round trip for what seemed like nothing. I had missed our Christmas celebration and felt like I’d let everyone down.”

As Joseph returned home, exhausted by the 15-hour day, he was astonished to find his neighborhood was brightly lit — with everyone’s porch lights on. And the brightest was his home.

“My family had asked all of our neighbors to keep their lights on, knowing I was out there, doing my job,” he said.

The special homecoming was worth every effort Joseph made that day. “That determination still drives me today — to give that same service to each and every customer, every day.”

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