His three sons

If the holidays are a time for being with family, then every day is a holiday for Kevin Buxton.

“I’m old enough to retire,” said Buxton, who has worked as a letter carrier at the Fond du Lac, WI, Post Office for 32 years.

Retirement would give Buxton, 67, more time to play percussion with the Beaver Dam Area Orchestra and his rock band, On the Rocks. He was previously a member of another band, Savior.

“But I don’t necessarily want to retire because it’s fun working with my sons,” he said.

Three of Buxton’s sons — Aaron (age 35), Austin (age 27) and Simon (age 22) — have followed in his footsteps and now work at the Post Office.

Simon and Austin are letter carriers, while Aaron is a city carrier assistant.

While their schedules vary, the Buxtons always make time to see each other several times during the week.

“I’m shocked at all three of them. They never talked about going down this road,” Buxton said.

The road probably started back when Buxton’s sons were children and helped him with the Postal Service’s annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

The experience made a big impression on Simon.

“I started [working for the Postal Service] right out of high school,” Simon said, adding that he recently recruited Aaron, who joined USPS after pursuing a career as a medical technician.

“I saw the importance of what we do,” Aaron said.

Austin, meanwhile, wound up joining on his own.

“When I applied, I didn’t tell my dad. I was going to school and working part time. Basically, I was at a point where I didn’t know what I was going to school for,” he said.

Now, eight years after working for the Postal Service, Austin is happy to be part of the family business.

“It just keeps getting better. Once you know the job, it tends to get better over time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Aaron wants one of their sisters to join, which raises the question: Could this be the start of the Buxton postal family dynasty?

“We have a very large family,” Austin said. “There’s nine of us. Aaron is the oldest at 35. The youngest is 10, so there are plenty more coming along who can potentially join. It could happen.”

Whether or not working for the Postal Service becomes more of a family affair, Buxton said he couldn’t be happier working with his three sons.

“Many a morning I wake up and say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe they’ve become letter carriers,’” he said. “It’s pretty gratifying.”

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The road ahead

The Postal Service has another busy year in 2022.

On Jan. 9, USPS will raise Shipping Services product prices approximately 3.1 percent for Priority Mail service and 3.1 percent for Priority Mail Express service. The next price adjustment for market-dominant products is scheduled to happen in July.

The organization has announced plans for 20 stamp releases next year, including two Love stamps on Jan. 14 and Year of the Tiger, the latest Lunar New Year stamp, on Jan. 20.

The Combined Federal Campaign is slated to conclude Jan. 15.

After being sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, two big springtime events are poised to return this year: The Stamp Out Hunger food drive is scheduled for May 14, while the National Postal Forum — the mailing industry’s largest annual meeting — is slated for May 15-18 in Phoenix.

The Postal Service is tentatively slated to recognize National Dog Bite Awareness Week in June; National Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Week in November; and USPS Motor Vehicle Safety Month in December.

The newest federal holiday, Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, falls on a Sunday this year, so USPS and other federal agencies will observe the holiday on June 20.

Meanwhile, Independence Day will fall on a Monday in 2022 and Christmas Day will fall on a Sunday, as will New Year’s Day 2023.

Make a plan

When it comes to reaching your health and wellness goals, planning is key.

That’s why the USPS Health and Wellness Team wants to remind employees that creating a plan can help you achieve your goals.

Wellness has many dimensions, which may include emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental and spiritual well-being.

Every person’s path is unique, and each aspect of wellness can affect a person’s quality of life.

Establishing new, better habits that support your wellness goals and values can be challenging, but worth it. Developing healthier routines and behaviors can lead to a positive sense of satisfaction, improved health, greater energy and feeling more balanced, happy and fulfilled.

As you start the new year, focus on how establishing a healthy lifestyle will benefit your overall well-being. Take active steps to:

• Incorporate more physical activity and nutritious foods into your regular routines.

• Evaluate your finances, including your pay, bank accounts, investments, debt, and retirement goals.

• Schedule your preventive health care appointments and screenings.

• Stay connected with your family, friends and community.

• Participate in activities that provide meaning and purpose and fuel your interests and creativity.

• Reduce stress and nourish your mental well-being through relaxation and self-care.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites have additional details on healthy lifestyle goals, while the Wellness LiteBlue page has more information on wellness.