By Sue Moore
Area residents sometimes get to the Vicksburg Post Office during the day and suddenly realize it is closed from 1-2 p.m. and closes again at 4 p.m. They wonder why.
It’s all based upon the amount of revenue each post office generates, says Travis Graham, the new postmaster in Vicksburg. “Actually, the Schoolcraft USPS has more revenue than Vicksburg and thus can stay open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. without closing for lunch. Our mornings are slow and then it picks up in the afternoon. I have one full-time clerk and one part-time person who comes in at 7 a.m., leaves for four hours and comes back at 2. I just can’t justify having her here all day.”
Graham comes from a long line of family that have held jobs with the post office so he knows the institution and believes it is a good career path for him. His uncle was the long-time postmaster in Bellevue, where Graham lives. His aunt worked out of the Battle Creek office. He has two brothers who have held post office jobs, all either retired or holding other jobs.
“It takes a long time to work your way up,” Graham says. He started as a city letter carrier 18 years ago in Battle Creek but had a part-time job first as a rural carrier for six months. He served as a supervisor for 12 years in Battle Creek, Parchment and Westwood. In making the move to Vicksburg, he believes he can make some positive changes that will help improve the service. He emphasizes that people should call him personally if they have a problem at 269-649-0148.
Because Vicksburg’s revenue is down three percent over the past year, he hopes to save some carrier’s time in walking their route by asking homeowners if they would consider putting a mailbox out by the sidewalk or road. “We call this ‘scooting’ when a carrier has to get in and out of the LLV (long lasting vehicle) and take mail up to the door. It would save money and time on the village routes and allow us to put our resources elsewhere. I might re-adjust routes to make them more square as our carriers walk from 6 to 8 miles each day, rain or shine.”
Food Drive for South County Community Services (SCCS)
Graham plans to be on hand on May 13 to oversee the food drive that has become an annual event to benefit struggling families in Vicksburg and elsewhere. The nationwide National Letter Carrier Association food drive is run by the unionized employees of the post office. Postcards will be mailed out reminding each person who receives mail that their donation is important to help stock the SCCS food pantry. In 2016, over three tons of canned goods, box mixes, and other staples were collected by the carriers and transported to the office at South County. Usually the carriers distribute plastic bags for donors to put their extra food stuffs in for easier collection but they may not be available this year, Graham explains.
Volunteers from Community Services travel to the Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Climax and Scotts post offices to pick up collections from those areas.