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Daily printout: Feb. 12

Monday, February 12, 2024

A Postal Service employee cancels a stamped envelop
Aaliyah Smith, a retail associate, applies the special postmark to mail at the Loveville, MD, Post Office last week.

They’re with Cupid

For these Post Offices, Valentine’s Day is a labor of love

Love is in the air — and in the mail.

More than 30 Post Offices across the nation with romantic-sounding names allow customers to send preaddressed Valentine’s Day cards, letters and more to receive a local postmark before the pieces are mailed to sweethearts.

“We’re getting packages from all over the country — and sometimes all over the world — wanting that Loveville cancellation,” said Shawn Guy, postmaster for the small Post Office in southern Maryland.

Valentine, TX, Postmaster Ismelda Ornelas estimates she gets an extra 10,000 to 14,000 mailpieces this time of year.

“It’s busier than Christmas, I’ll say that,” Ornelas said. “I have two holiday seasons. It’s rewarding, though. I get to play a part in connecting people to their loved ones.”

In addition to keeping customers interested in mail, the postmarks play a supporting role in the growing industry surrounding Valentine’s Day.

Consumers are expected to spend a record $14.2 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Greeting cards will account for 40 percent of those purchases, second only to candy, at 57 percent.

The postmarks are a source of community pride, too.

For more than 30 years, the school district in Valentine has held a contest for students to design each year’s local postmark.

In Romeo, MI, a new Valentine’s Day postmark is voted on by employees each year.

At one time, Romeo partnered with Juliette, GA, to offer a double cancellation — Romeo and Juliette — with the two Post Offices swapping requests as they came in. While that is no longer an option, the facilities remain bonded, with Juliette using the same postmark design as Romeo each year.

The Romeo team is also involved in a community Valentine’s Day event for kids. “It makes the very cold month of February a little more fun,” said Carrie Vanluven, a customer services supervisor.

Loveville’s postmark also gets love from customers beyond Valentine’s Day as a desired addition to wedding invitations.

“I actually had mine canceled here more than 20 years ago,” Guy said.

Man wearing stocking cap stands on street
Geneva, NY, Carrier Technician Nathaniel Bowes

Take a bow, Bowes

A letter carrier helped a customer in distress after a fall

Carrier Technician Nathaniel Bowes was delivering mail recently at a home in Geneva, NY, when he noticed movement through a window.

An older woman was lying on the floor, waving her hands and mouthing “Help!” repeatedly. The Postal Service employee entered the residence, spoke with the customer and called 911.

Bowes followed the dispatcher’s directions, monitoring the woman’s condition and sitting with her until an ambulance arrived.

The customer told paramedics she lost her balance and fell. She declined medical treatment.

Her son then arrived and promised to call 911 if her condition changed.

Employees featured in “Heroes” receive letters of commendation through the Postmaster General Heroes’ Program. The nomination form is available on Blue.

A white USPS delivery van at a charging station
A USPS battery-electric vehicle charges at a station at the South Atlanta Sorting and Delivery Center last month.
Week in Review

Here’s what Link covered Feb. 4-10

Sustainability goals and financial results topped a busy week

The Postal Service looked toward the future last week, announcing new, ambitious sustainability targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“The improvements we need to achieve in sustainability are an integral outgrowth of the broader modernization efforts we have undertaken through our 10-year Delivering for America plan,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

“As we transform our operating processes and invest in new automation, new technologies and upgraded facilities and vehicles, we will generate significant efficiencies that reduce our costs, minimize waste across all functions of our operations and slash our carbon footprint.”

Link also reported on the organization’s newly reported financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2023), which included operating revenue of $21.6 billion, up 0.5 percent compared with the same quarter one year earlier.

Other highlights last week included the release of a video that goes behind the scenes of the Postal Service’s latest television advertising campaign, as well as the release of a stamp featuring Saul Bellow, the 34th honoree in the Literary Arts series.

 Additionally, we went “On the Job” with Ochenya Okpa, a mail processing clerk at the Salt Lake City Processing and Distribution Center, and “Off the Clock” with Hope, ID, Postmaster Douglas Lowe, a scuba diver who is passionate about coral reef restoration.

His dives at coral restoration facilities have provided him “the opportunity to make a difference — and not just watch from the shoreline,” Lowe said.

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