A place to rest

Cleveland Letter Carrier Israel Lopez with his son, Alex

Israel Lopez is thankful for the help his family received from a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity eight years ago.

In 2010, Lopez’s 6-week-old son, Alex, developed a viral infection that led to a week-long stay at the Cleveland Clinic.

Lopez, a Cleveland letter carrier, and his wife, Leeanna, didn’t want to leave the hospital, but they also needed some rest.

They then learned about Ronald McDonald House, an organization that offers family rooms at hospitals for those who want to stay close to their sick children.

“Most families unwind and relax there before going back to spend time with their child,” said Lopez, a 12-year postal employee.

Each Ronald McDonald House room offers a sleeper sofa, a kitchen area, a TV, internet access and a shower, among other amenities.

“When you’re facing these kinds of circumstances, it’s incredible what having a place to brush your teeth can do,” Lopez said.

Today, Alex is doing well and is a “typical 8-year-old,” according to Lopez, who added that wrestling and doing Fortnite dances are two of his son’s favorite activities.

To show his appreciation for the help his family received, Lopez contributes to the Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, two of the more than 8,000 charities participating in this year’s CFC campaign, which concludes Friday, Jan. 11.

“You still have time to learn about charities right in your community that could use your help to keep doing great work,” said Kathleen Harper, a human resources program and policy analyst who oversees the Postal Service’s CFC efforts.

The CFC Blue and LiteBlue pages have guidelines on contributing to the campaign.

Lopez encourages colleagues to consider donating to a CFC charity.

“We’re called to give,” he said. “All of us have found a time in our life when we needed help with something.”

Travel on

Photo of passports

USPS passport facilities can continue to provide services to customers as normal during the federal government shutdown.

The U.S. State Department is still processing passport applications, the agency announced last week. Processing times remain 4-6 weeks for routine service and 2-3 weeks for expedited service.

The Postal Service is encouraging employees to provide passport acceptance services to customers and follow the usual procedures to process applications.

Self-service simplicity

Stack of bank cards

If you have a travel card through the Postal Service, you can register the card on the CitiManager site.

This will allow you to view your account information, view statements and balances, update your alerts and perform other self-service tasks.

To register, you’ll need your card number, account name and address. The account name, address and ZIP Code must match exactly what appears on your billing statement.

Here are the steps:

• Go to the CitiManager site. In the New Users section, select “Self Registration for Cardholders.”

• Select the “Fill the Card’s Data” button, then select “Continue.” Enter your 16-digit credit card number in the Card Number field. Make sure you type the card number exactly as it appears on your card with no spaces or dashes.

• In the Account name field, enter the name that appears on your card and select “Continue.” Next, enter your billing address in the Contact Details section and select “Continue.”

• In the Username field, create a username. You must create a username to access your account.

• In the Password field, type and confirm a password that meets the requirements. In the Confirm Password field, re-type the password and select “Continue.”

• Review the information displayed. When you’re finished, select the “Confirm” button.

The TravelHelp Blue page has additional travel resources for employees.

Rich port

A woman waving a Puerto Rican flag

The Postal Service will dedicate Hearts Blossom, this year’s Love stamp, in Puerto Rico on Thursday, Jan. 10. Here are some facts about the island.

1. Puerto Rico has a rich history. Christopher Columbus claimed the Caribbean island on Spain’s behalf in 1493. At the time, the island was inhabited by Taíno Indians. Spanish explorers originally called the island San Juan Bautista in honor of St. John the Baptist. Puerto Rico (“rich port”) was an important city on the island. Over time, Puerto Rico became the island’s name and the city became known as San Juan.

2. The island’s residents are U.S. citizens. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed a law that established Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory and granted Puerto Ricans U.S. statutory citizenship. The island became a self-governing commonwealth in 1952.

3. Puerto Rico has close connections to the U.S. mainland. The largest migration of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland occurred in 1953, when more than 69,000 islanders relocated mostly to New York, New Jersey and Florida.

4. Puerto Rico is home to a rainforest. El Yunque National Forest, located in northeastern Puerto Rico, is the only tropical rainforest managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 28,000-acre, biodiverse ecosystem encompasses 240 species of trees, 23 of which are unique to the rainforest. Tiny frogs called coqui are the island’s “unofficial” national symbol.

5. Several major industries are represented on the island. These include pharmaceuticals, electronics, textiles, petrochemicals, processed foods, clothing, finance and tourism.

6. Puerto Rico has several claims to fame. Famous Puerto Ricans include actors Benicio del Toro and Rita Moreno, baseball great Roberto Clemente and singer Ricky Martin.

Got ideas for future editions of “The List”? Email them to uspslink@usps.gov.