Thursday, December 8, 2011 | 6:05 a.m. CST;
updated 7:19 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 8, 2011
The post office is the constant in every community.
It’s a gathering place, and it is and often the first place where people go when they move to a city.
Alisa Calvert, postmaster for the post office in Ashland, explained this important role of the post office and how she fits into that.
"I think most importantly the role of a postmaster is to know the community and to know their residents and their employees," Calvert said.
This practice is far more common in rural communities. Smaller towns allow for the postmaster to take a more active role in the community, and Calvert makes it a point to greet every customer and make sure the customers know that she cares about them. Calvert said it's harder to do this in big cities because the postmaster plays more of a supervisor role and doesn't have as much opportunity to interact with the customers.
"A small-town post office has a more personal feel to it," said Calvert.
Postmaster Alisa Calvert laughs outside the Ashland Post Office as her landlord Jimmy Nichols walks in the building on Oct. 27. "Very few people get to go through life and not have to work, so since we have to work we might as well enjoy, and I do. I enjoy my customers," said Calvert.
Alisa Calvert points on a map at the Ashland Post Office on Oct. 27 to areas in Ashland that are experiencing growth. The population of Ashland has doubled in the last 10 years.
Steve Heard, one of the mail carriers at the Ashland Post Office, shows Calvert a joke on his iPhone on Oct. 24. Calvert has been the postmaster in Ashland for seven years and said she wouldn't trade the rural community for anything.
Mail rests in slots at the Post Office in Ashland, waiting to be delivered on Oct. 24. Calvert tries to get 80 percent of the mail ready for the carriers before they walk in the building.