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Piece by piece

A postmaster offers a gift that keeps giving and two employees mark milestones

Smiling woman stands near puzzle display
Postmaster Lejuana Tennyson stands near a puzzle display at the Smithville, OK, Post Office.

Postmaster Lejuana Tennyson is helping forge community, one puzzle piece at a time.

As a festive diversion for customers at the Smithville, OK, Post Office, Tennyson purchased a jigsaw puzzle depicting vintage holiday postage stamps.

The pieces were laid out on a lobby table in December with a sign inviting interested customers to try their hand.

“It was fun to see how well it went over,” Tennyson said. “People came to our lobby at all hours. I’ve had people say, ‘I’m here at 1 a.m.’”

She remembered a married couple working on it for an entire afternoon and even overheard someone mentioning it at a local store.

Then there was the game warden who came to the retail window to say, “I want to lodge a complaint. I’m spending far too much time on this puzzle!”

It was so well received that Tennyson laid out a Love stamps version for Valentine’s Day.

The puzzles are 1,000 pieces — 500 would be too easy, she said — and she plans to continue the practice as long as postal themes allow.

Keeping up with Pace

Like his last name, Genoa, NV, Postmaster Gregory Pace has kept a steady career stride. He recently reached a milestone of 50 years with the Postal Service.

Pace joined the organization in 1973 as a mail handler in Eureka, CA. He has gone on to serve in a variety of other roles, including retail associate and officer in charge, as well as postmaster in several offices.

Since 2007, Pace has been postmaster in Genoa, the oldest ongoing settlement in Nevada, founded in 1851.

“This town is full of history and has seen a lot of changes,” said Pace. “I’ve had an enjoyable career. I’m fortunate to work in a beautiful valley with a great group of customers.”

‘Priceless’ purpose

Reyes De La Torre, a Fresno, CA, letter carrier, recently marked 50 years of federal service.

De La Torre served in the U.S. Army in the 1970s, then joined USPS in 1981.

“What I love most is the feeling of purpose I derive from my daily duties,” he said. “The more mail I have to deliver, the stronger my purpose. Being able to serve the public in this capacity is priceless.”

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