Where the Hearts are

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez address the audience

The Postal Service showed its love for Puerto Rico during a ceremony this week for the first stamp release of 2019.

The organization dedicated Hearts Blossom, this year’s Love stamp, at an event that brought together Puerto Rico officials, USPS leaders and postal employees and customers.

“It’s fitting that we’re in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a special place that has weathered some tough storms — literally tough storms — and is deserving of some love,” said Robert Cintron, the Postal Service’s network operations vice president, who led the ceremony.

He discussed the organization’s efforts to restore mail delivery as quickly as possible after Irma and Maria, back-to-back hurricanes that struck the Caribbean in 2017.

“We know the island is still rebuilding. We know there is still much to do, and it’s wonderful to witness the progress and experience the spirit of renewal firsthand,” Cintron said.

Another guest speaker, graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, said the sentiment represented by the new stamp is reflected by the spirit of Puerto Ricans.

“Our love is only matched by our resilience. Hurricanes will come and go, and we will write stories about it, and we will rebuild. We will rise up,” he said.

Hearts Blossom features the word “Love” in cursive script below 12 colorful hearts. The color palette includes red, pink, purple and orange.

The stamps are available at Post Offices across the United States and usps.com.

The Love stamps originated in 1973. Although USPS releases the stamp early each year, it isn’t just for Valentine’s Day and can also be used for birthday cards, wedding invitations, birth announcements and other mailings.

Said Cintron: “These stamps can be used year-round because love never goes out of season.”

Roll with it

Alfredo Rodriguez, customer services manager

My name is Alfredo Rodriguez, and I’m the customer services manager at Port Richmond Station in Staten Island, NY. I help employees provide the best service they can to our customers.

There are only four clerks here, so on a typical day, I help maintain the lobby and also spread a little cheer to customers who wait in line.

I work closely with letter carriers, too, to ensure the right mail and packages get loaded onto the trucks and go to the right places.

Since beginning my career 34 years ago, I’ve worked as a letter carrier, collections driver and utility carrier. I became a supervisor in 1994.

I’ve grown with the job. Based on the most recent Postal Pulse survey, I learned that my employees didn’t feel recognized enough. I now make the effort to let them know how much I value and appreciate them. I greet them each morning and always say “thank you,” which can go a long way.

Things change and you have to adapt and learn new things. It’s what we do.

I’ve been married to my wife, Ann, for 28 years. We have a daughter, Johanna, and a son, Christian, who are both in their 20s.

In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering as a local scoutmaster with Boy Scouts of America. I got started in the organization when Christian was a boy scout, and now we work side by side. He’s my assistant scoutmaster.

USPS has allowed me to put my kids through college and grow. It’s been a wonderful ride.

“On the Job,” a series on individual employees and their contributions to the Postal Service, appears regularly in Link.

Know the rules

LLV on icy road

Postal Service facilities that store large quantities of rock salt, sand and other de-icing and anti-skidding chemical products may be regulated by environmental laws.

These regulations could include mandatory chemical reporting, restrictions on the amount stored, permitting and requirements for on-site storage areas.

Regardless of location, facilities that order or store de-icing and anti-skidding products must keep these materials under shelter, such as an awning, shed or tarp. This is required under the Postal Service’s zero discharge policy.

Additionally, facilities must never purchase or store more than 10,000 pounds of de-icing and anti-skidding products in a single location.

To determine your compliance obligations, contact your designated environmental specialist. The Sustainability Blue page has a list.

What’s in the box?

USPS Next screen

Reminder: USPS offers My App Box, an online tool that allows employees to access more than 430 applications, including popular programs like PostalEASE and the TACS Help Desk.

To access the tool from a postal computer, click the Windows icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen and select “All Apps,” followed by “My App Box 4.5.”

You can search and select apps, as well as customize the menu so your favorite programs are listed first. Additionally, you can use the tool to create alerts for your location, including weather updates.

Information Technology manages the My App Box tool. To offer suggestions or for more information, select “Help,” then “Send Suggestion.”