Early last week, about a dozen or so people protested outside the post office on East Patrick Street in Frederick.
Postal service has been in the national headlines the past few weeks, thanks in part to current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s appearance before Congressional hearings. Some news reports have pointed out the value of the post office, especially for both Americans in rural and urban areas during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Frederick News-Post recently traveled around the county to talk to residents about their mail service the past several weeks. Here is what some of them said.
Chris Frazier, WolfsvilleChris Frazier, who lives right down the road from Harne’s Store in Wolfsville, said he hasn’t noticed any change in mail delivery in recent months.
Much of the mail he gets is junk mail. But in a broader sense, he can see why some believe the post office has been mismanaged over the years.
That said, he doesn’t think the post office should dissolve, because of the argument some make: If the service is privatized, rural Americans might not be served. And that could be a problem for customers who need to deliver things or receive medication.
“It’s a valid point,” Frazier said of that argument. “I don’t necessarily want to have to get a P.O. box or a more centralized location [to ship/receive mail].”
Sam Leatherman, Myersville/Wolfsville areaSam Leatherman has lived on Harp Hill Road south of Wolfsville for decades. He and his dad, Ernest, use the mail mostly to pay bills but don’t get any prescriptions.
He was sympathetic to carriers who have to deal with the elements and long, rural routes. He had no complaints about his service, and appreciates those that deliver the mail every day.
“They have to deal with everything, and they have to deal with all the weather,” Leatherman said. “But that’s something you can’t control.”
Dave Savage, GracehamDave Savage has lived in Graceham, just east of Thurmont, for more than two decades.
There haven’t been any major issues in recent months, Savage said. His wife and daughter order packages, and they haven’t had problems there, either.
He believes there could be a market for DHL, FedEx and other companies to fill the void if the post office were to shut down. But he doesn’t want to see them shut down—it’s convenient for him to head right into Thurmont, whether he has packages or mail to send and receive.
There are also bigger impacts, he added.
“I hope they never get rid of them,” Savage said. “It eliminates jobs, it eliminates retirement [plans], and it impacts the entire economy.”
Elena Howell, north of WolfsvilleElena Howell said she just gets regular bills and junk mail in her mailbox each day.
As she was working outdoors last week, she said mail service has been “steady” for the past several years.
Even though rural carriers have to cover more ground, they might not have many properties to stop at, Howell said.
“Because it’s a small area [population], they might not have as large an area as some might in the city,” Howell said.
Frances and Gwin Wilt, LibertytownThe Wilts get their mail out of the town post office—nobody in the Libertytown proper area has a mailbox.
They particularly have had trouble shipping and receiving packages lately, outside of the usual bills and junk mail. Gwin Wilt said he could drive up to Pennsylvania to get products in two-and-a-half hours, like cigars. But it takes roughly seven days for that package to arrive by mail.
Issues really started when the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year, Frances said.
“If we would mail a letter or card, in two to three days, my daughter in Columbus, Ohio, would have it,” she said. “Nowadays, it sometimes takes 10 to 14 days.”
Richard Reaver, Johnsville
Richard Reaver has lived along Md. 75, across from the J Bar W Ranch since the 1960s.
His mail used to come in the morning, but about a year ago, the delays started, he said—sometimes, it doesn’t show up until 6 p.m.
Part of the problem, Reaver said, is carriers might need better vehicles for rough weather and when the roads get bad.
“A lot of them need better Jeeps than they have ... but a lot of times, I don’t think they can afford it,” Reaver said.
William Porter, Rocky RidgeWilliam Porter has lived along Md. 77 on the west side of Rocky Ridge for six years. He gets the usual bills, along with prescriptions in his mail.
He’s had two carriers in that time, and he said “they’re pretty good” in terms of service.
Like McIntyre, his opinion of whether the post office should continue to operate was simple: “I don’t want to see it go away, because you need your mail.”
Laura McIntyre, Catoctin Mountain areaLaura McIntryre has lived near Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church on Stottlemyer Road in the Catcotin Mountain area for decades.
The mail service has been solid in that time, thanks to good carriers, McIntyre said.
Her response to why the post office should continue to operate was blunt: “We wouldn’t get anything ... we need the post office to get our mail.”
Robert Eyler, Rocky RidgeRobert Eyler lives down the road from Porter, close to the main intersection where Md. 76 meets Md. 77.
He said mail service has been “up and down” in recent months, meaning sometimes it comes in the morning, and sometimes it comes in the evening.
One issue could be that the Rocky Ridge post office used to be the mail distribution point for mail locally—but now, it comes from Thurmont, he said.
He hasn’t had any huge problems but understands the challenges mail carriers face, especially in rural areas.
“He’s got quite a lot of ground to cover,” Eyler said.
Sharon Garlena, FrederickSharon Garlena, of Frederick, attended a protest in support of the postal service last week at the post office in downtown Frederick.
Garlena said she noticed a slowdown in her mail service months ago.
“Then when all this came out, it was like, ‘That explains it,’” she said.
She said saving the postal service was important to her, since it’s how she gets and pays bills.
When the mail service is slow, she can sometimes get statements late, causing her payments to be late, she said.
Staff writer Ryan Marshall contributed to this report.