Kudos to carriers

A Postal Service employee from Iowa who braved a house fire to rescue his Postmaster’s mother has received the top hero of the year award from the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).

“I just feel it’s something anyone would do,” said Sumner, IA, Letter Carrier Austin Rentz, who was recognized Oct. 30 as the National Hero of the Year at the union’s annual luncheon in Washington, DC.

Rentz had initially asked a colleague to notify the local Postmaster after hearing an unfamiliar beeping noise at the woman’s home. But when the sound soon grew louder and he spotted thick black smoke pouring out of the structure, he raced in to guide her to safety.

“I don’t look at myself as a hero,” Rentz said. “This is part of the job.”

The NALC also named three regional heroes: Theresa Jo Belkota of Lewiston, NY, who aided a 10-year-old neighbor hurt by a lawn mower; Michael Musick of Bellflower, CA, who responded to a traffic accident that injured two co-workers; and Mark Schuh of Princeton, IN, who defended a man and his beagle during a dog attack.

The Special Carrier Alert Award was given to Ivan Crisostomo of Sacramento, CA, who leapt into action to protect a teenager who had allegedly been held captive for three months.

Mitchell Rivas of Berea, OH, was designated Humanitarian of the Year for establishing a charity for hospitalized children, Maryssa’s Mission Foundation, in memory of his 2-year-old daughter who died from congenital heart failure in 2015.

“The other honorees and I represent just a small sample of what employees do every day,” Rivas said. “We put the ‘service’ in the Postal Service.”

Belkota encouraged colleagues to help others whenever they can.

“Don’t be afraid to step in and take the initiative,” she said. “Although the situation I faced was daunting, I am a stronger person for it.”

News Briefs

Fall back

Fall back. Daylight saving time will end Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 a.m.

In areas where the change is observed, most people will “fall back” and set their clocks back one hour at bedtime Nov. 2.

Standard time will be in effect until March 8, 2020, when daylight saving time will resume.

Hazardous materials. The Postal Service will observe Hazmat Awareness Month in November.

In preparation for the peak mailing season, USPS employees will receive reminders on recognizing and properly handling potentially hazardous materials.

Approved postal providers will also receive reminders on the proper handling of potentially hazardous materials.

Employees can refer to Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, for detailed acceptance guidelines.

Dear Santa. The latest USPS blog post offers information on two Postal Service holiday programs: Greetings from the North Pole Post Office and Operation Santa.

Greetings from the North Pole Post Office, formerly Letters from Santa, allows children who write letters to Santa Claus to receive a response that bears a North Pole postmark.

Operation Santa allows individuals to aid families in need by “adopting” their letters to Santa and granting their holiday wishes.

The Postal Posts blog will publish holiday-themed posts each week throughout this year’s peak season.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, which honors the cultures, histories, traditions and contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

USPS employs about 4,000 individuals who identify themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native. The American Indian and Alaska Native population in the United States is approximately 6.8 million, according to U.S. Census data.

The Postal Service has issued several stamps that honor American Indians, including Indian Hunting Buffalo (1898), the first stamp to portray a uniquely Native American theme; four American Folk Art stamps (1977); five American Indian Dances stamps (1996); and 10 Art of the American Indian stamps (2004).

The federal government’s Native American Heritage Month site has more information.

Maine event

Here’s Link’s latest “News Quiz,” a weekly feature that invites readers to test their knowledge of recent stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. Approximately how many sales leads did USPS employees submit during the previous fiscal year?

a) More than 116,000
b) More than 8 million
c) More than 17 million
d) More than 990 million

2. Which observance ends Nov. 1?

a) Mailbox Improvement Week
b) Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Month
c) National Dog Bite Prevention Week
d) National Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Week

3. Which application recently became available for craft employees who want to request unscheduled leave?

a) Enterprise Leave Request Application
b) Interactive Voice Response
c) Virtual Timecard
d) None of the above

4. In what format are the Postal Service’s new Holiday Wreaths stamps available?

a) Booklets of 20
b) Coils of 3,000
c) All of the above
d) None of the above

5. Who will be the subject of next year’s planned Black Heritage stamp?

a) Alain Locke
b) Nella Larsen
c) Arturo Alfonso Schomburg
d) None of the above

Answers: 1) a. 2) d. 3) a. 4) a. 5) d. USPS plans to honor Gwen Ifill with next year’s Black Heritage stamp. Locke, Larson and Schomburg are slated to be featured on the Voices of the Harlem Renaissance stamps.

Look for a new quiz next week and share your feedback with Link at uspslink@usps.gov.