Friday, June 29, 2012

District Employees Come to the Rescue

          As testimony to their character and benevolence, New York District Letter Carriers showered co-worker Jean Wijaya with help and support after her family lost all their possessions to a devastating house fire in Queens NY.

          While most Americans were gearing up for the Memorial Day holiday on the morning of May 28, 2012, Wijaya and her family found themselves fleeing their rented home after a neighbor had alerted them of the fire spreading throughout the three-family wood frame house.
Fortunately everyone in the house got out safely, but after the FDNY had put the fire out, the structure was deemed unlivable and the Wijayas were suddenly homeless––left with literally just the clothes on their backs.

          Still in shock, Wijaya called her friend and co-worker Marguerite Brybag-Kelly who immediately offered them a place to stay.
“Jean is a good friend,” said Brybag-Kelly, “My place is small, but I dropped everything I was doing to help her out.”
“My husband went to stay with family and friends, while the children and I stayed with Marguerite,” said Wijaya. “It was chaos. But the next day, I went to work.”

Some of the Letter Carriers at JAF who came together to help co-worker Jean Wijaya and her family

          When Letter Carriers at JAF heard what had happened, they quickly mobilized––and on their own time––started collecting clothes, money, dishes and linens for Wijaya and her family.
Word spread quickly among all employees and Letter Carriers from Lenox Hill North and Franklin D. Roosevelt stations began their own collection for the family. When The Better Angels of Our Human Nature, a charitable organization started by Postal employees, learned about Wijaya’s situation, they collected funds to buy her new Postal uniforms. 
“I was really overwhelmed at how generous everyone was to me and my family,” smiled Wijaya.

          Things started looking up for the Wijayas––who were already in contract to buy a house––after they asked their attorney to speed up the closing process, and amazingly they were able to close and move into their new home just five days after the blaze had turned their lives upside-down. “We had no furniture at all in our new house so we slept on the floor. But at least we didn’t have a lot to move,” laughed Wijaya.

          Thanks again to her pal Marguerite, furniture started coming in.
“My sister was moving to a new place, so I asked her to contribute a bed room set and a kitchen table,” said Brybag-Kelly. “Jean is such a good person that I was happy to help anyway I could.”
“I think Jean may have not realized how strong the unity we have here is,” said JAF Letter Carrier Shameeka France. “We are a Postal family, and we all look out for each other.”
“It’s a blessing the way everybody came together to help,” said Wijaya as she and her family are gradually easing back into a more routine lifestyle. “I really feel the love from all my co-workers. I don’t know how we would have made it without them.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Long-time District Employees Retire

          JAF Labor Custodians Rosemarie Lombardo and Delia Johnson are turning in the tools of their trade and riding off into the warm glow of retirement.
Johnson, who worked for the Postal Service for 42 years said that, “like any job, there were ups and downs, but I have no regrets. We’re like a family here.”
Assigned to Church Street Station for more than 30 years, Johnson made fast friends when she came to JAF in 2001.
“Delia would cook up enough food to feed 25 people at our employee Christmas Party,” recalls co-worker Maintenance Mechanic Robert Cousins.

          Lombardo, who had the foresight to bank more than 1500 hours of sick leave, has always worked at JAF. “I’ve seen all kinds of changes,” she said. “Different bosses, different schedules, but I never had any problems. We all worked together. It’s been a good experience.”

          With a combined 83 years of service, The New York District is grateful to Rosemarie Lombardo and Delia Johnson for their dedication to service and wishes them a long and happy retirement. 

Sitting L to R: Labor Custodians Rosemarie Lombardo and Delia Johnson pose with co-workers a day before they retire. Standing L to R: Labor Custodian George Moorehead, Cust. Juan Mejias, Maint. Cust. Anthony Hernandez, Cust. Marie Moseley, Maint. Mechanic Mark Lind, Building Equip. Mech. Jerzy Truszkowski, Maint. Mechanic Robert Cousins


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cool Tips for Hot Days

          Summer is here. Working in hot weather without taking precautions can result in heat exhaustion or stroke. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty - drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps. Wear a hat, along with sunglasses, and loose fitting light weight clothing. Use a sunscreen product with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating of 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) and apply 30 minutes prior to going out - and walk in the shade when possible. Eat spicy food! Spicy food increases perspiration which leads to a cooling effect on the body.

Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion.

·       Headaches, dizziness.
·        Mood changes, irritability, confusion.
·        Weakness, nausea or vomiting, fainting.
·        Pale, clammy skin.

          If you or a co-worker experiences any of these symptoms act quickly and move the victim to a cool shaded area. Loosen and remove any heavy clothing. Give the person cool water to drink, about a cup every 15 minutes––unless they are nauseous or vomiting. Spray or apply a wet cloth to skin. Call 911 for emergency help if the person does not feel better in a few minutes.

New York District Letter Carriers making their appointed rounds during first heat wave of the season

Top Left: James Bonitsis-JAF, Top Right: Samuel D. Cardenas-JAF,
 Bottom Left: Tonia Wesley-Old Chelsea, Bottom Right: Mozell Dawson-Jerome

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mile Davis, Edith Piaf Share the Stage

          They had never performed together––but thanks to a collaboration by the U.S. Postal Service and France’s La Poste, legendary jazz and blues artists Miles Davis and Edith Piaf are united on a stamp forever.

          The historic stamp set, released jointly at dedication ceremonies in the U.S. and France, attracted an overflow crowd of musicians, composers, actors and philatelists at the New York City event––where Miles Davis lived for much of his career.

          Davis, who personified “cool”, was at the forefront of jazz musicians for decades, setting trends and exploring musical styles such as bebop, fusion and funk. He was also a great bandleader, and many musicians including John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Ron Carter (who was a guest speaker at the event) rose to prominence in his bands.
By the time of his death in 1991, Davis had won many honors, including a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement, Denmark’s prestigious Leonie Sonning Music Prize, and the Grande Medaille de Vermeil from the City of Paris. "Through his music," said Davis' former wife, actress Cicely Tyson at the dedication ceremony held at the Rubin Museum of Art, "You knew his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state. That's how he spoke to everyone."

          “Miles Davis was one of the great innovators in American jazz,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman. “But he was also extremely popular in France, where he performed frequently. Likewise Edith Piaf, one of France’s best loved singers, became an icon in the U.S.”
Best known to American audiences for her songs “La Vie en Rose” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”, Piaf toured the U.S. ten times and sang at Carnegie Hall twice.
Abandoned by her mother at an early age––her father worked in a travelling circus–– Piaf would sing throughout the streets of Paris to support herself.
“For people everywhere in the world her voice was the voice of Paris,” said Grammy Award winner Mike Stoller.

          At the ceremony, Italian singer and actress Maria Elena Infantino (accompanied by Bulgarian born concert pianist Tania Stavreva) performed a scene from her one-woman show titled Edith Piaf, and a sextet of young musicians from the Julliard School performed some classic Miles Davis compositions.

          “I’m a huge Miles Davis fan,” said Sales & Service Associate David Worthy, who attended the event on his day off from work. “My uncle knew him from our Harlem neighborhood. Miles met some of my musician friends and said he wanted to jam with them. He was the “birth of cool.”

          The Miles Davis/Edith Piaf forever stamp set is also the first stamp featuring a QR (Quick Response) code printed on the back. When scanned with a smart phone, a landing page will open with an option to listen to music from Davis while viewing photos and a timeline of the lives of both Davis and Piaf. How cool is that?

Family, friends and Postal officials dedicated the Miles Davis-Edith Piaf stamp set at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC


Monday, June 11, 2012

Submitting Success

          Parkchester Letter Carrier Alberto Gonzalez was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for submitting a Customer Connect lead that is estimated to generate $91,267 in Priority Mail service sales.
Business Development Specialist Wilma Rivera and Branch 36 Customer Connect Coordinator David Velazquez made the presentation at Parkchester Station after holding a service talk that stressed how critical submitting customer connect leads are to the financial well-being of the Postal Service.

          Gonzalez seized the opportunity to help USPS land a new contract when the owner of an auto parts store on his route told him he was looking for a way to reduce his shipping costs.
Once Gonzalez submitted the lead, Business Solutions Specialist Adriane R. Allen came in and closed the deal.  
“I always talk to my customers and find out what their mailing needs are,” said Gonzalez, a 22 year Postal employee. “We need to pick up the volume of mail like it used to be when I first started for us to stay in business.”

L to R: BDS Wilma Rivera, Customer Connect Coord. Lisa Pizarro, Letter Carrier Alberto Gonzalez,                 Branch 36 Customer Connect Coord. David Velazquez

Friday, June 8, 2012

Letter Carrier "picks up his game"

     West Farms Letter Carrier Kenneth Pettiford was recognized for submitting a Customer Connect lead that is estimated to generate $174,000 in annual revenue for the New York District.
Pettiford received a certificate of appreciation, a shirt and cap from the NALC, plus a windbreaker from Business Development Specialist Wilma Rivera and Branch 36 Customer Connect Coordinator David Velazquez.
     While on his route, Pettiford had learned that business owner Jimmy Khokhar was looking to attract more customers to his six Papa John's Pizza Restaurants in the Bronx.
"I told him that the Every Day Direct Mail (EDDM) program might be just what he was looking for," said Pettiford. "He agreed to check it out, so I submitted the lead to my Manager Shanell Cordero and the rest is history."
     Khokhar plans to mail more than 100,000 ad mail piece to 10453, 10455, 10456, 10460, 10472 and 10467 zip codes every month.
     "I realized that EDDM is a good value for the customer and a great income potential for the Postal Service," said Pettiford. "I see the results, so I'm going to pick up my game and tell more businesses about EDDM."    

L to R: BDS Wilma Rivera, Letter Carrier Kenneth Pettiford, Branch 36 Cust.  Connect Coord. David Velazquez

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

57,000 Pounds of Food and Counting

     With more than 70 million pounds of food collected and distributed to the nation’s food pantries and shelters, the 20th annual NALC Letter Carriers Food Drive––held this past May 12–– was once again a resounding success. In the New York District, where the food drive was extended for a full week, postal patrons dropped off more than 57,000 pounds of non-perishable food at various post offices throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. That’s nearly double what was collected last year.
      “I think a lot of that increase was due to our T-shirt campaign, said Food Drive Coordinator David Velasquez. “Carriers bought the shirts to wear on their routes to help promote the NALC Food Drive. More customers became aware of the food drive and donated more food, plus the proceeds from the sales of the T-shirts also went to buy more food.”
“I think it’s important to help people in need,” said Letter Carrier Alice (Dana) Giro. “I’m glad the Postal Service and Branch 36 support the Food Drive and that we have so many Letter Carriers here in New York that contributed to a great cause.”  

JAF Letter Carriers wear T-shirts that helped promote the 20th Annual NALC Food Drive
L to R: Joe Massa, Sharon Blackstock, Jean Wijaya, Arcola Hall, Alice (Dana) Giro, Kenny Bozzo

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ira Mohr Recognized for 50 Years of Service

     Lead Sales & Service Associate (LSSA) Ira Mohr was recognized for 50 years of service with a breakfast ceremony at Grand Central Station.
     District Manager Bill Schnaars, Manhattan Postmaster Bob Brown and Mgr. HR Vanessa Duncan-Smith joined Grand Central Mgr. Kenneth Stanley in presenting Mohr with a Letter of Appreciation, a 50-year Pin and a framed sheet of stamps depicting his image.
Mohr, who started as a Grand Central Distribution & Window Clerk in 1964, is also known as the “Postmaster of the United Nations Post Office”––a title he earned while working there for 18 years.
“His customers were very fond of him,” said Stanley. “Ira made my job as Manager easier because if there was an issue at the U.N. Post Office, he would always find a way to resolve it on his own.”
“Ira is one of our most knowledgeable SSAs,” said Supv. Elizabeth Corbet. “He has been a real asset to the organization.”
     Though 50 years seems like a really long time for most people, Mohr––who is currently assigned to Grand Central Finance––has no immediate plans to retire.
“A lot of my friends are retired, but I not going anywhere yet,” smiled Mohr.

L to R: Mgr. HR Vanessa Duncan-Smith, DM Bill Schnaars, LSSA Ira Mohr, GC Mgr. Kenneth Stanley, Manhattan PM Bob Brown