Mail carriers cover their routes on foot, by vehicle, or by a combination of both. On foot, they carry a heavy load of mail in a satchel or push it on a cart. The heavy snow that has hit the area has proven a challenge to mail carriers.
Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Postal Service has no official motto. The familiar saying, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," is commonly misidentified as the mail carriers' creed. It is actually just the inscription found on the general Post Office in New York City at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street.
And even though it's not official, the description could certainly serve as a motto for area postal carriers, especially during severe weather events.
"My carriers have given 110 percent," said Mike Williams, Monett Postmaster. "Every carrier was on the job every day. They were here when they were supposed to be and have been absolutely great."
According to Williams, some of the carriers have been in ditches but there have been no injuries. Most of the incidents have occurred in the rural areas, and stranded carriers have been helped by farmers.
On the first day of the storm, there were only 637 deliveries missed out of 4,500, and the majority of those were rural deliveries.
"The deliveries in the country were missed, because there were three- to four-foot drifts," said Williams. "The next day or two after the storm we had problems because the plows piled the snow next to the mail boxes, and there is four feet of room between the pile of snow and the mail box. You can't drive through the pile, so the carriers have to get out and put the mail in the boxes.
"I have carriers out to almost 5 p.m. every day delivering mail," Williams added. "The carriers are tired, but they get out there and go."
The mail carriers have had to battle both the snow and extremely cold temperatures.
"They have to go out and do it," said Williams. "So the only way they can battle it is to layer up for protection. This is just part of it."
According to Williams, the snow is hard but he feels the heat is a worse battle.
"When you are out there in hot weather, you can't fix it. You can't do anything about it," said Williams.
The Postal Service provides vehicles with chains on the tires to mail carriers.
The Monett Post Office has 10 routes with 21 employees, city and rural.
"I know it is a hard job, but it would help the carriers if people would shovel next to their mailboxes and clean their walks," said Williams.
"I have a great group of carriers, and they have amazed me," said Williams, who has been with the U.S. Postal Service for 35 years and will mark his 18th year in Monett on Feb. 19.
"To show my appreciation I am going to fix them pancakes from scratch and sausage."