Local postal workers getting job done

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

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By Larry Shafer

Recent events in our country have shaken us to our foundations. One of these foundations is the U.S. Postal Service. The American people are accustomed to seeing their mail carrier bring the mail to their doorstep on a daily basis. It's as large a piece of Americana as apple pie.

The national news media would have us believe that the work force of the Postal Service is running scared. They would have us believe the postal workers are wearing bio-hazard suits as they process letters and magazines. The national media love to focus on the sensational statement that is often taken out of context.

A recent example would be Postmaster General Jack Potter stating that the safety of the mail could not be guaranteed. This statement was splashed across headlines throughout the nation as if it was the definitive reason to not open your mail.

Of course, that was not Potter's intent in the least. He was merely being frank and honest. He was not willing to make an impossible pledge by saying the mail was absolutely safe. Can anything in life carry a 100 percent guarantee? The answer is obvious.

As a manager at the local area processing facility, I can state that the above scenarios could not be further from the truth. The workers in our plant are going about the business of moving the mail just as they always have.

Are there concerns? Of course there are, but the concerns are being addressed in a calm, straightforward fashion.

Common sense is our greatest weapon against this blatant terrorist attack. Out of the millions of pieces of mail the Postal Service handles on a daily basis, the attention continues to center on three or four letters that were mailed on the East Coast.

Yes, the deaths of both postal employees and private citizens are tragic, and their loss is deeply mourned. But should this cause a nationwide panic? Again, common sense -- our best weapon -- dictates an unequivocal no.

The people at both the Cape Girardeau Post Office and the Area Mail Processing Facility are as great a group of individuals as it has ever been my pleasure to be associated with. They do their jobs, and they take the trust of the American public to deliver the mail very seriously.

One of our clerks reminded me of something that rings as true today as it did in 1941: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Larry Shafer of Jackson is a manager at the Area Mail Processing Facility in Cape Girardeau.

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