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Holiday in paradise

A South Pacific postal team goes the extra mile for its customers — and more employees making news

A smiling woman stands at a Post Office retail counter
Postmaster Tao Suani stands at a counter in the Pago Pago, AS, Post Office.

The Pago Pago Post Office on the island of American Samoa — a U.S. territory located about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii — receives mail by boat once a month.

When these shipments arrive, everyone in the office helps sort the mailpieces and packages for the office’s 8,000 customers.

Last month’s shipment arrived shortly before Christmas, so Postmaster Tao Suani opened the office for four hours on Dec. 25 to ensure customers could pick up any holiday goodies that might be in the mix.

Many employees were happy to pitch in.

“I am a proud servant of the U.S. Postal Service for the people of American Samoa,” said Steve Vaiau, a retail associate. “And to see the smiles when people received their Christmas packages … makes all the hard and heavy work all worth it.”

Time of transition

The new year has brought changes for a Kalispell, MT, couple with longtime postal ties.

Jefferson Oxford, a business mail technician at the Kalispell Post Office, told the Daily Inter Lake newspaper he plans to retire soon, following in the footsteps of his wife, Michelle, a retail associate who wrapped up her postal career last month.

Larry Golie, a former Kalispell postmaster, told the Daily Inter Lake the couple have been exemplary employees for more than three decades.

“I think that they both encompass kindness and paying it forward,” Golie said. “They will be greatly missed.”

Golden guy

Arturo Mireles, a San Antonio mail processing clerk, recently marked 50 years of federal service.

He joined USPS as a letter sorting machine operator in 1981 after serving in the Air Force as an airplane mechanic.

“The Post Office is the American dream,” Mireles said. “You can buy a house, raise a family, pay for college, take great vacations. All you have to do is show up and do your share of the duties assigned to you.”

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