Stanley C. “Jiggs” Huffman was a postal employee for only one day, but he made a lasting contribution to USPS history.
Huffman piloted the first airmail flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Miami during Air Mail Week, a national effort in 1938 that encouraged people to send airmail letters. To provide service to remote locations during the week, pilots like Huffman were sworn in as government employees for 24 hours.
Last December, when his daughter came upon a letter thanking Huffman for his participation, she knew someone who would want to see it: her daughter, Fort Lauderdale Customer Service Support Supervisor Amy McCall.
“She found it when she was going through some old photos,” McCall said. “Since I work at the Post Office, she thought it might be of interest to me.”
Signed by both the Fort Lauderdale mayor and Postmaster, the letter praises Huffman for his role in promoting “this romantic and dazzlingly speedy method of handling the nation’s mail.”
McCall also discovered that Huffman, who died in 1952, served as a contractor who flew the inaugural airmail route from Cincinnati to Chicago in 1927.
The Postal Service recently released the first of two United States Air Mail stamps, honoring pilots like Huffman — those who exemplified bravery and had a vision for the future of air transportation.
“I don’t think anybody could have imagined the significance those flights would have on future air travel. Today’s commercial aviation industry is a direct result of the Post Office’s vision a century ago,” Elliot Gruber, director of the National Postal Museum, said at the stamp’s recent dedication ceremony.
McCall has her grandfather’s letter tucked safely away in a drawer, but that doesn’t mean she intends to keep it hidden. She has sent a copy to the museum in Washington, DC, with the hopes that it will one day become part of its airmail collection.
Both the letter and the new stamps have given McCall a greater appreciation for airmail service.
“I think it’s important for people to understand the history behind the stamps,” she said. “It makes me really proud to have a family member that was a part of that history, and now [I’m proud] to be a member of the Postal Service. It’s a real connection.”