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The list: 12 favorite stories this year

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The USPS employee whose Houston home was flooded in August 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.

Every weekday, the Link team is privileged to tell the stories of Postal Service employees. Here are 12 favorites from 2017 that include both reader submissions and selections from our team.

1. Keys to recovery. Link had boots on the ground in the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma, and our writer and photographer brought back moving stories and images of employees working tirelessly to restore service.

2. ‘We’re a family’. We also covered Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, and few stories touched us more than the Postal Service employees working inside a Houston shelter who came to the aid of a deaf woman — only to discover they were helping one of their own.

3. Still recovering. Our recent update on the ongoing efforts to restore service in the Caribbean following the one-two punch of hurricanes Irma and Maria was another reminder that USPS employees are people of limitless grit and determination.

4. Emotional appeal. Why do the parents of so many sick children go on social media to ask people to send the youngsters cards and letters of support? This article addressed the phenomenon of “viral mail” with interesting results.

5. Snake news. Three king cobras, two potato chip cans and one Postal Inspection Service determined to safeguard the U.S. Mail. It all added up to one of Link’s most-read articles this year.

6. Beetle mania. An intruder gets loose inside a USPS facility and starts climbing over the equipment. Did we mention the renegade was a scarabaeidae dynastinidae, also known as a rhino beetle?

7. Totally awesome. The first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in almost a century brought together millions of people — and cast the Postal Service in a unique role.

8. Mr. Eclipse.” Speaking of the eclipse: We profiled Fred Espenak — a.k.a. “Mr. Eclipse” — whose image appeared on this year’s Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp.

9. Double duty. One of the year’s biggest movies, “Wonder Woman,” turned out to have a postal connection: Gal Gadot’s stunt double, Caitlin Dechelle, is the daughter of two Postal Service employees.

10. Step by step. Cheraw, SC, Retail Associate Howard Rogers retired after a 50-year postal career, but that’s not the only impressive thing about him: After becoming paralyzed during the Vietnam War, he defied doctors’ expectations and walked again.

11. End of the line. Another retirement story: Melrose Park, IL, Letter Carrier Garland Gralow concluded his career after spending 60 years delivering mail on the same route. Now that’s what you all dedication.

12. Giving helpers a hand. The National Association of Letter Carriers gathers a roomful of heroic employees for an awards ceremony — and there’s not a dry eye in the house.

What were your favorite Link stories this year? Email your feedback to

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