Little boy blue

A Philadelphia letter carrier recently delivered quite a treat to a little customer along his route — just in time for Halloween.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Jody Forte gained a friend in 2-year-old Julius Westfall. After months spent at home social distancing, Julius began looking forward to Forte’s daily deliveries.

Because the boy’s parents, Thea and Scott Westfall, have been busy working from home, Julius has been entertaining himself by lining up his USPS mail truck toys on the windowsill in time for Forte’s arrival.

Julius has even learned the sound of Forte’s vehicle. “As soon as he hears the mail truck coming down the street, he makes a beeline for the door,” Thea said.

Forte looks forward to seeing Julius, too. “He waves to me from the window. We’re buddies,” he said.

It was no surprise when Forte recently learned from Thea what her son wants to be for Halloween this year: a letter carrier.

“The next day, I just came out and there was a mailman costume right on the front door. It was a surprise,” said Thea. A note attached read, “Enjoy!”

Forte gave Julius the child-size costume that he once dressed his own sons in for Halloween. The outfit was passed down to Forte from colleagues whose children had outgrown it.

“He’s really excited about it,” Thea said. Although Julius and his older brother, Theo, will skip traditional trick-or-treating this year, they’ll get to wear their costumes while searching for hidden candy in their own yard and going on a Halloween hike.

Julius is a bit of a trendsetter: Letter carrier costumes are one of the most popular Halloween choices this year for people of all ages, although USPS has only licensed versions for children and dogs. The canine costume is popular, too.

The Westfalls have also displayed colorful signs of support thanking the Postal Service throughout the pandemic.

“We feel the Postal Service really deserves recognition,” Thea said, adding that her family appreciates the reliability of employees like Forte.

“Everything around us just changed but the mailman came every day. So Julius connected with Jody’s consistency. It was so important to him. He couldn’t understand what was going on in the world, but the mail delivery gave him a sense of security,” she said.

Forte, a 15-year USPS veteran whose route includes the same Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up, said he has been enjoying the recognition since a local TV station aired a report about his surprise for Julius.

“‘Hey, are you that mailman?’ someone will ask me at the grocery store,” he said. “With all the stuff going on in the world and 2020 being the mess it is, the story makes people happy.”

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Acting vice president

Christine Bailey has been named acting sales vice president for the Postal Service.

She succeeds Timothy Costello, who became Southern Area’s acting retail and delivery operations vice president in September.

Bailey previously was national sales executive director, bringing in more than $15 billion in annual revenue and leading a team of 800 employees.

She has been with the Postal Service for more than 30 years and has held a variety of positions in sales and marketing.

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Behind the scenes

Cybersecurity isn’t just about technology.

It’s also about people.

The Postal Service is marking National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October by highlighting the Corporate Information Security Office, also known as CISO, and its work to design and build cybersecurity technology.

Much of this work is handled by a cybersecurity engineering team of skilled professionals who work behind the scenes to improve the identification, documentation, authorization and management of the Postal Service’s network-connected technology.

This team, led by Doug Glair, also protects the network’s “endpoints” — laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets, servers and more — with firewalls, anti-virus measures and other tools.

The cybersecurity engineering team also uses intrusion detection capabilities to protect the USPS network, and the team manages the organization’s digital certificates — electronic credentials used to establish proof of identity in electronic transactions.

Additionally, the team protects data against unauthorized access, copying, transferring or manipulation.

The National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Blue page and the CyberSafe at USPS Blue and LiteBlue pages have more information about CISO, the Cybersecurity Engineering team and related topics.

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News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 96.85 percent during the week ending Oct. 23, down almost half a percentage point from one week earlier.

The data was collected Oct. 28.

Western-Pacific led the four areas with a rating of 97.24 percent, followed by Atlantic (96.98 percent), Central (96.94 percent) and Southern (96.31 percent).

Among the 67 districts, Dakotas, part of Western-Pacific Area, ranked first with a rating of 98.72 percent, while Atlanta, part of Southern Area, ranked last with a 92.18 percent rating.

The week’s biggest gainer was Atlantic Area’s Capital District, where the rating was 95.86 percent, an improvement of three-fourths of a percentage point, while Southern Area’s Mississippi District recorded the week’s biggest loss: a 92.42 percent rating, down more than 4 percent from on week earlier.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

Season’s greetings. Postal Bulletin’s Oct. 22 edition features an overview of the Postal Service’s holiday delivery season plans.

The latest updates to policies, procedures and forms are also included.

This is war. The National Postal Museum will host an online lecture by Yamil Kouri Jr., who’ll discuss his most recent book, “Under Three Flags, the Postal History of the Spanish-Cuban/American War,” on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. ET. Admission is free, but participants must register on the lecture website.

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