Santa’s ‘helpers’ hard at work

Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Betty Y. Boomer 21st Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

Postal workers receive and sort through packages to take them to their final destination from the Panzer Postal Service Center. Sorting more than 30 tons a week, crews work up to 36 hours of overtime during the holidays to ensure all packages get delivered.

It’s easy to take for granted the effort that goes into shipping and receiving mail here in Germany. There are dedicated postal workers that know receiving that special package from back home can boost morale and soften hearts.

Supporting postal service centers in Pirmasens, Landstuhl, Kleber Kaserne and Rhine Ordnance Barracks normally average 30 tons of mail per week, the Panzer Postal Service Center has seen a 20 percent increase for the holiday season.

“It gives me great satisfaction to provide this service to the men and women here because I am retired military myself,” said James K. Williams, postmaster, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz.

Making the transition to a foreign lifestyle can be difficult for service members and their families during the holiday season, but incoming mail can be the little piece of home they need.

“Some of the deadlines have already passed, but people still have until Dec. 17,” Williams said. “But we want to make sure that people mail early so their family won’t be disappointed.”

With a lot of mail going in and out of the stations, it can be a little chaotic. Receiving over 14,000 pounds per delivery, crews keep up with the pace by working long hours, to include overtime.

“Every piece has to be accounted for,” said Ray Davis, postal operations clerk. “We have to scan every piece through the Automated Military Postal System to track everything that comes in.”

Workers in the postal operations are unsung heroes who help get precious letters and packages in and out from major vendors and loved ones in a manageable time.

“I really appreciate my staff,” Williams said. “They are really dedicated in getting the job done, no matter what it takes.”

Working in a climate where many of the workers are prior service, the mailroom is another mission that must be completed because life without mail from family and friends during the holiday season can be disappointing.

“I love this time of year,” said retired Sgt. 1st Class June Garzon, postal operations clerk on Kleber Kaserne. “I hope everybody has a Merry Christmas.”