The following paragraph is the official mission statement of the US Postal Service:
“The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.”
That “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of
their appointed rounds.” incantation written in our memories with a permanent Sharpie? It’s just an inscription above the entrance of a (retired) REALLY BIG station, the James A. Farley Building in NYC. Everybody likes it, so the US Postal Service just shrugs its shoulders and says, “OK, sure, we’ll claim it as the unofficial motto.” But it’s appropriate to invoke today.
Lynda G. Shrager, in her book Age in Place, taught me another facet of mailcarriers’ hearts. Many of us may be familiar with their food drives, and Operation Santa. But they also serve as a bridge between their patrons and First Responders in a program called Carrier Alert. Where the program is in place – it needs sponsorship by local agencies such as United Way – elderly and/or differently-abled patrons can elect to ask their letter carrier to pay extra attention for those little details that can mean something is wrong – the sounds of a frightened pet, an unexpected open door, mail piling up in the box. If s/he notices something concerning, a mailperson is then empowered to alert First Responders through established channels. It’s a superbly well-established program, founded in 1982.
If you have a loved one you worry about, see if the program is in place in his/her neighborhood. See if you can persuade your Elder to enroll.