IN RAIN OR SNOW, WALLINGFORD STATION DELIVERS
by Kirby Lindsay
Out of all federal agencies, the United States Postal Service (USPS) “is the most trusted government industry,” Connie Hermosillo, Acting Manager for Wallingford Station, explained. “You see us every day,” she went on, “you see the postal carrier walking down your street.” Governed by government, and officially a federal agency, the USPS “does not depend on government money,” Hermosillo admitted, but “sales revenues, like a business.”
At our first meeting, Hermosillo compared the mail to newspapers. Many Americans take for granted the ease with which we send and receive letters, postcards, Season’s Greetings, and legal documents. In time, we might find ways to work around it, but to lose the Postal Service would devastate our society. “We can reach every address in the world,” she said, “that human bonding is so important.”
Fremont’s Wallingford Station
Wallingford Station, no matter the name, serves as Fremont’s primary postal delivery center. The Station covers a lone zip code (98103) “the single largest zip zone in Seattle,” Hermosillo confirmed. In November 2009, Wallingford processed 45,000 pieces of mail and, in addition to the 121,834 pieces that came pre-sorted from a central delivery processing center, carriers delivered these items throughout 98103. Carriers cover 47 different routes, each containing anywhere from 350-600 deliveries (individual addresses).
“We do encourage them to deliver the same way each day,” Hermosillo explained, as the routine helps keep carriers safe. They are also advised, at all times, to remain aware of their surroundings. This policy also makes customers safer. “Carriers on regular routes can see if things are wrong,” Hermosillo admitted. Perhaps this is one reason why Hermosillo, in her role at the head of the Wallingford Station, hears when routes change; “we have people very protective about their carriers.”
Hermosillo recently stepped in as Acting Station Manager when Alisa Masunaga, the Manager of record, went to help out at Riverton, a large distribution center. Hermosillo cautiously hopes the permanent position will be offered to her should Masunaga decide not to return.
Hermosillo began with the USPS 15 years ago as a clerk, in her native Las Vegas but “I couldn’t stay in one place. I like going to other places, trying new things.” She has tried many different positions within the ‘company,’ and “I like working with customers.”
Five years ago, in her quest for change, Hermosillo relocated here. She has observed Las Vegas to Seattle as “the other end of a spectrum.” Of her children – a daughter and two sons – the boys took best to the move, “like fish to water,” Hermosillo admitted.
About The Customers
From her home in Lynnwood, Hermosillo has served at different stations around Seattle including Georgetown, Wedgewood and Interbay. She speaks well of all but acknowledges a fondness for Wallingford, “The customers are wonderful, very, very pleasant,” she praised, “they have a better sense of humor than other stations I’ve been at…that shall remain nameless.”
Hermosillo had no complaints about mail usage. “People are getting better about packaging,” she commented, although some don’t realize that to reuse an alcohol or wine box for mailing, all references to alcohol must be blacked out to adhere to USPS policy against delivery of alcoholic beverages.
She also strongly encourages everyone to “mail early!” Or consider using the APC – Automated Postal Center – a “very consumer friendly” option, open 24 hours a day – including Sundays.
Ultimately, in this time reaching out to family and friends (and North Pole elves), “there will always be a place for the mail,” Hermosillo spoke passionately, “it’s something special.”
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.