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‘We’re a family’

Employees help their own after storm

USPS employees in group hug
The USPS employee whose home was flooded receives a hug from a group that includes, from left, San Antonio Customer Services Supervisor Juan Loyola; an emergency shelter volunteer; Helena, AR, Postmaster Anita Simmons; Hackett, AR, Postmaster Lisa Oliver; and Alabama District Marketing Manager Lewis Kindle.

The woman’s hands trembled as she approached the USPS booth.

It was a Tuesday afternoon, just days after an Army rescue boat pulled the woman and her sister out of their flooded home.

The Postal Service employees at the booth inside the NRG Center, Houston’s largest shelter, had been assisting people like this for days. Mostly, the employees helped the storm victims complete change-of-address forms, although they also directed them to Post Offices offering pick-up mail service.

But it soon became apparent this case was unique.

Through tears, the woman introduced herself and explained she’s a North Houston mail processing clerk and a 45-year USPS veteran.

The postal employees realized they weren’t helping a customer. They were helping one of their own.

“We lost everything. There is so much standing water,” the woman said. “We just need all the help we can get because we don’t know what to do.”

Throughout the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, many USPS employees have worked to restore service while dealing with their own storm-related hardships.

A variety of resources are available to help these employees, including the Postal Employees’ Relief Fund and Employee Assistance Program.

“We’re a family, and we take care of each other,” said San Antonio Customer Services Supervisor Juan Loyola, who helped the North Houston clerk and many customers at Houston area shelters last week.

By the time the clerk’s visit to the USPS booth was complete, she was enveloped in a group hug by Loyola and the other postal employees.

“I feel very lost, and I’ve been so concerned,” she said. “It means a lot.”

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