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Postal patronage

Customers continued to rely on mail in 2020

Belfor Holdings CEO Sheldon Yellen writes personalized birthday cards for every employee in his company. Image: Belfor Holdings

If you think mail was old news this year, you weren’t paying attention.

Customers captured headlines throughout 2020 for their Postal Service patronage, underscoring the enduring appeal of the U.S. Mail.

Sheldon Yellen, chief executive officer of Belfor Holdings, a Michigan-based disaster-relief corporation, continued his annual practice of mailing personalized birthday cards to every employee in his company — all 9,200 of them.

“I’m so blessed and honored that I’m in a position to be able to send these cards,” he said.

Mail also brought customers together, including Henry Wheeler, a retired teacher in Virginia who reunited with a student after receiving a note that the student had written him — more than 50 years ago.

Although the letter was delivered on time in 1967, it apparently became lost at the school. After discovering the note, another teacher brought the unopened envelope bearing an 8-cent airmail stamp to Wheeler.

“I don’t know where it was or where it was found,” Wheeler said. “I’m guessing it was stuck in a file cabinet.”

Later in 2020, a group of retired nurses who have used the mail to keep in touch for almost 60 years expressed thanks to the Postal Service after the organization recovered a missing binder that contained their most recent correspondence.

“Our letters are priceless,” Verla Wilson, one of the nurses, said.

Big businesses relied on the mail this year, too, including Netflix, which continued to serve about 2 million people through its mail-based DVD rental service.

Martha Blair, a resident of The Dalles, OR, remained a fan of DVDs-by-mail, even in the age of online streaming.

“We tried streaming early on and I didn’t like it because I couldn’t get the movies I wanted to see. The DVD service offered a wider variety of movies,” she said.

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