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Airplane mode

On the job: Honolulu Ramp Clerk Loreto Garo

Honolulu Processing and Distribution Center Ramp Clerk Loreto Garo
Honolulu Processing and Distribution Center Ramp Clerk Loreto Garo helps ensure accurate mail delivery.

I’m a ramp clerk at the Honolulu Processing and Distribution Center. I’m responsible for the right mail going on the right plane at the right time. I also document flights and departures, ensure the safety and sanctity of the mail, and make sure contractors do what they’re supposed to do.

Honolulu District is unique because we’re so dependent on air transport. One hundred percent of our incoming and outgoing mail is transported by air, whereas the ratio in facilities on the mainland are closer to 50 percent air and 50 percent ground transport.

I start my day at 6 a.m. I log into a computer program that gives me information about flights, and I particularly pay attention to high-value transfers, like shipments of coins. I then go to a centralized location and observe mail being loaded onto planes.

I’m the Postal Service’s eyes and ears on the airport ramp, so I focus on activities that could cause mail to be lost, delayed or damaged.

I’m out there with the airplanes every day, so the job requires a lot of specialized training.

For example, I needed a special license and training to obtain a high-security airport badge that allows me to work on the ramp.

In the 15 years I have been a ramp clerk, the position has changed enormously. We used to monitor a lot more cash and valuables that were sent through the mail. That’s not so much the case anymore. We’re becoming a nearly cashless society.

I have 51 years of service — 48 years with USPS and three years of military service. I was a special delivery messenger back in the 1980s and also worked as an express mail clerk for a while.

I was married for 44 years to my first wife, a bank teller who passed away two years ago. My oldest son is a doctor and just had my first grandchildren, twin girls. They live in Bellingham, WA. My younger son is a registered nurse and lives with me.

When I’m not working, I do a lot of hiking, walking and swimming. I recently remarried. My current wife lives in the Philippines, where she works as a head teacher. When I retire, I plan to go back to the Philippines to live with her.

I feel very lucky that I was able to raise and support my family through my career with the Postal Service.

“On the job,” a series on individual employees and their contributions to the Postal Service, appears regularly in Link.

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