Despite the threat of COVID-19, the 786th Force Support Squadron has worked tirelessly delivering mail to every patron possible.
The Northside and Southside Post Offices have been using various strategies to help protect the public from COVID-19, such as using adjusted shifts and reduced opening hours.
While the strategy was initially successful, one side effect was increased strain on the personnel available.
“When (reduced hours) first started, the lines were so bad,” said Tech. Sgt. Brieland Lanear, 786th FSS noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel service center. “We had to deliver packages through the back section to get people in and out.”
The struggle to maintain demand led to changes beginning April 1, limiting customers to picking up packages on designated days and hours. Furthermore, a limited number of patrons may enter all facilities at a time to prevent large gatherings. This change has caused some frustration among patrons, but Lanear says they also get many appreciative comments.
“People get compliments all the time,” Lanear said. “It’s always good to hear it, knowing we’re out here in the face of hundreds or thousands of people throughout the week.”
Mental health during difficult periods is also important. Staff Sgt. Trenton Fernandez, 786th FSS custodian of postal effects, said his team always makes sure to check on their Airmen daily.
“(We) just check on them daily to make sure they don’t have any kind of stress going on,” Fernandez said. “A lot of us don’t have ways we can decompress after a long day because everything’s shut down.”
With more people staying home, Fernandez says mail has risen in importance during this time period. He drew comparisons to deployments, saying just one package can make a huge difference to people in uncertain times.
“Mail has always been viewed as a source of morale,” Hernandez said. “Everyone loves getting that piece of mail or letter that has good words in there.”
786th FSS Airmen operate on the front lines of COVID-19 nearly every day to make sure people receive their mail. Thanking these Airmen for their service is just a small thing Lanear hopes patrons consider.
Customers whose last name begins with letters A through K may pick up their packages from the Northside, Southside and Kapaun Air Station post offices Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Customers whose last names begin with letters L through Z may pick up their packages Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Fridays have a retirees-only hour from 10-11 a.m., afterwards allowing all patrons at other business hours. The Northside and Southside post offices is open Saturdays to all patrons from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All customers are required to show their ID and wear a face covering when entering the facility. Patrons also must abide by physical distancing standards when waiting outside and entering the facility.