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Perspectives during the coronavirus from a letter carrier

By Alan Ashley

While the coronavirus has created unforeseen changes in our lives, like school and business closures, I thought I would give some perspectives on how it has changed me on several levels.

Some of you may have similar experiences; some may have a new insight after reading this article.

You may know that I am one of the contributing photographers to Chelsea Update, but I have a full-time job. I have been a USPS letter carrier in Ann Arbor for 26 years.

We are deemed “essential personnel” because the postal service is considered an essential service. For instance, we deliver prescription drugs daily.

The USPS was the only government agency open for business the day after the 9/11 attacks. The USPS has continued delivering mail and packages through 9/11, anthrax threats, the 2003 East Coast blackout, and other national incidents.

Letter carriers will continue to deliver through anything else in the future. So there’s no need to worry about the mail stopping, remember our motto of “neither rain, nor snow, or sleet.”

While many people are able to work from home, or be paid while at home, some do not have that opportunity and sit home with no income in their future.

I have been a freelance photographer for over 30 years. Recently, I have been covering events in Chelsea, but occasionally still attend other sporting events. Some of the photographers I have been in contact through the years, working at these events is their sole source of income. While there are no sports going on, my thoughts have turned to those photographers and people who cannot work at their jobs due to this crisis.

We have all been affected due to the school closings. While most know they will be attending one of the schools in the Chelsea School District next year, the Class of 2020 is in a position of an uncertain future.

As the parent of one of those seniors, there are many questions with no answers to give.

When will they go back to school and see their friends?

Will there be graduation?

Will they have to go to summer school?

How will this affect their attending college in the fall?

The answers will eventually come, but when is another question.

As long as everyone continues to wash their hands, practice social distancing, and helping those in need, we will get through this crisis.

Be respectful to others, help those individuals at a high risk and get the supplies they may need.

Let’s show everyone why Chelsea is a great community.

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10 thoughts on “Perspectives during the coronavirus from a letter carrier”

  1. Well said state the mind of many of us, I’m sure. We are in this together and one thing is for sure. These times are the likes of which we’ve never seen. We do need to be compassionate and non judging and help where we can. Thank you for continuing to get our mail out and for expressing these thoughts.

  2. Yes, we all need to look beyond our private worlds more often and be thankful for all that we have! Thank you for reminding me today.

  3. As the daughter of a USPS carrier in Livonia, I thank you. We have rural service where I live now. Saw the carrier the other day and glad to see the gloves on. I’ve heard several people say they are going to connect with friends and family via letters rather than call or social media. I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not. If you’re reading this, like to hear perspective from you. Wasn’t addressed by USPS here:

  4. First. Thank you for your service!!

    During these times everyone will soon realize what is important. It’s natural to have questions wondering about uncertain future.

    But as an old lady 73. I say. TODAY IS THE ONLY DAY WE HAVE.
    Don’t worry things will all work out in time

    Cherish today.
    Blessings and prayers

  5. My husband is a retired USPS city carrier. He enjoyed his job, most days, delivering in rain, snow and sleet can be a challenge! But, so many of his customers became close friends and watched out for him, offering water on hot days, and he watched out for them as well. Their children knew who their mailman was and could go to him for help. During this trying time let’s all look out for each other.

  6. Thanks for your letter and your service. We have so much we tend to take things for granted some good may come of the virus crisis if it makes us and keeps us more grateful for everything we have and more caring for others who aren’t so fortunate. It made me think of the telephone and electrical linemen who must trudge through snow and sleet to keep the lines open in bad weather. My heart goes out to those who have no income because the place they work is closed.

  7. Alan,my name is KAREN Crissman and I appreciate your post. I retired last January-31-2019 with 25years in Venice FL. I would to somehow also let our customers know how important it is to please try to refrain from coming to their mailbox unless they really need to talk to their carrier about something pertaining to their mail. I have been on a route that 2 Mobile home parks I delivered to. Seasonal route, summer time about 500 deliveries and winter time around 950 deliveries. There were many came to their boxes daily . I have truly enjoyed this, made a lot of great friends. But at a time like this, everyone needs to realize how serious this virus is and to protect our customers and we as carriers. Just one customer who does not even realize that they have been in contact with someone who has the virus and then the carrier could pass it on to others. Let’s do this to help get rid of this virus!

  8. Support your local restaurants by getting carry out and tip well if you can. Thank them for their service. I love this community and the people in it. We get through this. A virtual hug to you all.

  9. Alan, thank you for inviting the readers of Chelsea Update to peek through the window to your world. Thank you for your dedicated service as a postal carrier. Please share the public’s gratitude to your co-workers. We depend on you!

    My heart goes out to all of the students, whatever grade level they are, but especially to the seniors. They are experiencing the loss of events that were important to them, and uncertainty about the future.

    In truth, this is not the first generation of students who have dealt with serious current events. It would be wonderful if individuals who survived, and even thrived, during difficult times in the past could spread a message of hope to our young people. In this time of social distancing (which should more aptly be called physical distancing), we need each other more than ever. We could all use the life wisdom of mentors at this time.

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