Volunteers make holiday mail move

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best
  • 501st Combat Support Wing

Post office personnel throughout the 501st Combat Support Wing are looking for volunteers this holiday season.

The volume of mail increases 150-300% per post office during the holiday season, which can overwhelm the post office staff. Volunteers help to ease the burden of this holiday surge, allowing the post office to better serve their customers with the increased manning.

"We, as postal technicians appreciate each and every person who volunteers throughout the year, especially during the holiday season," said Senior Airman Donald Francisco, custodian of postal effects, RAF Croughton, UK.

The training is on average 45-90 minutes and allows volunteers to continue postal volunteering for the whole week. All volunteers need to fill out the appropriate forms and complete safety, and lifting training prior to getting the post office specific training. The specific training focuses on mail handling, pitching, sorting, labeling yellow cards, packaging and lastly on DoD, United States postal service and Air Force postal regulations.

"When I was told that the post office needed help, I immediately made a sign-up sheet for my office to get involved, sometimes there isn't a real 'why' you do it, you just do it," said Staff Sgt. Andrew Foldhazi, stationed at RAF Menwith Hill, UK.

Michael Hernandez a postal volunteer and spouse of Staff Sgt. Yara Hernandez stationed at RAF Menwith Hill, said there several reasons to volunteer.

"As a military spouse, it is hard to have a specific career due to the frequent PCS's so volunteering gives me the chance to try new things; learn new skills, network and meet new people," he said.

Foldhazi said he had learned a lot about the postal service through volunteering, "Most importantly about the human element that is vital to getting people their letters or package."

Mail is flown into London Heathrow Airport from around the world where personnel at the London Mail control activity are responsible for making sure all the military mail is received. Mail is then transported to the Aerial Mail Terminal, Detachment 5, located at RAF Alconbury, UK. The AMT supports three wings equaling about 40,000 people. It receives on average 5.4 million pounds of mail annually with an additional 1.3 million pounds received during the holiday season. The mail is then unloaded and sorted to 11 locations throughout the U.K.

"Working in the post office is a job that doesn't let up, no matter how hard and fast you work," said Foldhazi.

Francisco agreed that the mail keeps flowing no matter what.

"We love our volunteers; we couldn't process the holiday mail without them," said Francisco.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact your local post office.