Volunteers help propel post office mission forward

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Olivia Sampson
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

 U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 786th Force Support Squadron are investing extra hours and effort while receiving assistance from volunteers to manage the holiday influx of mail at the post offices on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

During the holidays, post office personnel contribute in various ways, such as extending weekday shifts to ten hours or sometimes longer.

“During the holidays, we receive upwards of 2,500 piece trucks daily,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kendyl Touchton, 786th FSS Postal Service Center supervisor. “Individual pieces of mail letters can [be around] 5,000 letters a day.”

Staff Sgt. Cody Jones, 786th FSS postal effects finance supervisor and custodian, acknowledges the recognition received during this time, emphasizing the team's commitment to going beyond the required duties to assist customers.

“What we do is a morale booster for sure,” Jones said. “Even though this is not a deployed location, the impact of what we are doing is great. There are a lot of people that are alone during the holidays, and all they look forward to is receiving letters or packages from family.”

The additional time invested by military postal clerks proves instrumental in expediting the shipping and receiving of parcels, offering enhanced convenience for customers during the busiest mailing period of the year.

Despite the extra work hours and improved tools, the primary support during the holiday season comes from the Holiday Volunteer Program.

This program aids Ramstein’s Northside and Southside post offices and the Kapaun Air Station Post Office during peak hours. Without their assistance, the mission would be challenging to accomplish effectively. With the collaborative efforts of volunteers, upgraded equipment and innovative processes, military postal clerks achieve faster mail sorting, reduce misplacements, and enhance overall quality practices.

Volunteers start their duties as early as 6:15 a.m., contributing to various tasks, including unloading mail trucks. Their presence is highly appreciated by Post Office personnel as it alleviates the workload, allows for prioritization of important duties, and streamlines tasks preceding parcel distribution to customers. As an added incentive to volunteer, after three to five hours of serving, volunteers are given a fast pass, which allows them to skip the lines to receive a package and get out as quickly as possible.

Master Sgt. John Grijaldo, 786th FSS postmaster, commends his team's dedication and hard work, emphasizing the unseen inner workings of their operation.

“I would like to remind our customers to be patient with postal workers, as the job is very selfless, and much of the work is underappreciated behind the scenes,” Grijaldo said. “If you see something rewarding or something positive, please tell us. We have QR codes all over the post office. We like to highlight those airmen that are going above and beyond for the customers.”

Volunteers are still needed at the Northside and Southside Post Offices on Ramstein AB and the Kapaun Post Office on Kapaun Air Station. To sign up for specified times at the Northside Post Office, visit: https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/9rm3mcns/.