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Merrifield, VA, Auto Parts Storekeeper John Dickey

My name is John Dickey and I’m an auto parts storekeeper at the USPS Vehicle Maintenance Facility in Merrifield, VA. I help supply parts for every postal vehicle in the local fleet.

We have about 15 people in my department, including contractors. We all stay busy servicing about 1,400 vehicles. This facility is huge. We have 10 work bays.

We don’t want vehicles down for repair. That’s a big no-no. If a vehicle breaks down, we immediately work to get it repaired. Vehicle safety is very important, so if parts need to be changed, we change them. We change engines and transmissions, too.

My workday starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. The first thing I do is check to see what outstanding orders are left, then purchase them through the postal procurement system. I can’t buy a pen without certain approvals. There’s a lot of paperwork.

It’s all pretty fast-paced. It feels like once I get here, by the time I look up, it’s time to go home.

I’ve been with the Postal Service since 1985. Previously, I drove a school bus in Washington, DC. My friend, a letter carrier, told me USPS was hiring. I took the test and started as a truck driver. Later, I worked as a tire repairmen. I did that for about 20 years. I loved it.

When I’m not on the job, I like to work around my house and in my yard. My three kids are all grown now. I have seven grandkids. I’m thinking about retiring. I can retire anytime I want, but I don’t plan to do it for a few more years.

At the end of the day, everything we do is about getting the mail to the customer. My job contributes to that. Without us getting these vehicles ready to go, customers won’t get their mail.

I can’t complain one bit about anything. I’m honestly grateful to have to this job. I love the logistics, but some days, man, I would love to be back out on the floor just changing tires.

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