July 1 is National Postal Worker Day, so if you haven’t already done so, be sure to thank your postal workers for their hard work, especially during these challenging times.

Suzy Bertussi, postmaster of the Kanab Post Office, when asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, quipped: “It’s just like Christmas!”

First, there is the huge increase in packages, usually indicative of the Christmas season. Next, there are the stimulus checks that come to many people through the mail. Lots of cards and packages usually mean it is the Christmas season. It’s one thing to hire extra hands in December. It’s a challenge to manage the increased postal volume, month after month.

In Kanab, postal workers are taking on more hours and trying to keep up as the months wear on. You may be surprised to see them even delivering packages on Sunday. Bertussi says her employees are amazing.

For example, she overheard Briana on the phone recently telling the caller, “I’m just getting ready to clock out for lunch. I’ll bring the package to you.”

Many of us have experienced the “extra mile” the postal worker goes. Joyce Rhodes recalled that, “A Father’s Day card arrived with extra postage due. Instead of returning it to the sender, Leslie Eddy brought the letter to the door and asked if we wanted to pay for the postage. What a joy! My husband received the card for his special day.”

Bertussi said it helps that customers are patient and understanding, as they typically are in Kanab. It also helps to be in a small town office, where there is sufficient space to socially distance and handle the hundreds of pallets of mail that pour in weekly. “All of us pitch in and help each other, regardless of rank or function.”

To keep everyone safe, frequent cleaning of “fomites” must be done. “Fomite” is not a new word, but is now in frequent use. A “fomite” is a surface or item that may harbor infection. The employees take “fomite duty” turns, keeping the premise wiped down and sanitized for customers and for each other.

National Postal Worker Day may be the national day to recognize the hard work and dedication of our postal employees, but every encounter with a postal worker any day of the year – especially at Christmas – is an opportunity to share your appreciation with them, returning their diligence and hard work with gratitude and a kind smile.