- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 3, 2001

"Neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor hail will stop postal carriers from delivering the mail."
This famous slogan, adopted from Herodotus, a Greek historian, has never had more meaning than now, and residents of the District's Brookland neighborhood made that clear yesterday.
Residents, merchants, and Ward 5 Council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., Democrat, held a tribute and candlelight vigil for postal workers in front of the Brookland post office on 12th Street NE, between Monroe and Lawrence streets. The group sang songs and praised the dedicated service of the men and women who deliver mail to their homes and businesses every day.
"We wanted to honor them and create a bond with them, and show them we care, [even] if no one else does," said Gail Dixon, Brookland resident and event coordinator.
"They deserve to know and feel their hard work and the risks we now know they take are appreciated."
Mr. Orange presented Community Service Heroism Awards to Brentwood and Brookland postal employees for their service and sacrifice in light of the anthrax attacks. Artist and Brookland resident DeWayne McKinnon donated an oil painting to be placed in the Brentwood mail-processing facility's lobby when it reopens. The facility currently is closed for anthrax decontamination.
Not long ago, postal workers may have been perceived as disgruntled, angry employees who were a potential danger in their workplace. "Going postal" became a popular saying to describe people who became excessively angry.
But since the deaths of postal employees Joseph P. Curseen, 47, and Thomas Lee Morris Jr., 55, from inhaling anthrax, District residents have newfound respect and appreciation for the real dangers postal employees face every day.
"A job delivering mail once taken for granted is now a life-or-death risk," said neighborhood pub owner Pat Houston.
Mr. Houston, 37, owns Johnny K's, a popular nightspot on 12th Street in Brookland. His neighbor, Anne Lucas Falk, who owns the Food Glorious Food catering service, said she wishes more neighborhoods would show support and hopes there will be more tributes she can participate in, in the future.
"If anybody deserves our thanks and respect, it's our postal workers," Mrs. Falk said.
"Absolutely. They deserve more; they are on the front lines now," Mr. Houston said. "I'm afraid to open my own mail and my mailman delivers it to me by hand every day with a smile. It's a shame more people don't get to know their postman."
Mrs. Dixon, a former school board representative, got together with fellow resident Karen Spellman and others a week ago. The group, calling itself the Brookland Neighbors Committee, decided that a tribute in front of the community's post office was the best way to exhibit its thanks and praise.
"I couldn't believe it when Karen Spellman came in and told me about it," said Reginald Hughes, supervisor for the Brookland post office.
"It is excellent to see this type of recognition," said Mr. Hughes, 39.
The tribute and candlelight vigil for the postal workers was organized by word-of-mouth, and residents and merchants in the neighborhood responded immediately. Brookland Florist donated a floral arrangement for the vigil. The Garden Club has decided to landscape the front grounds of the neighborhood post office. And the civic association donated the candles for the vigil.
"I know I personally appreciate this, and my fellow letter carriers do, too," said Kenneth Hinton, 57, who picks up and delivers mail to The Washington Times every day.
"I have had strangers come up to me offering prayers and support for the past few weeks," said Mr. Hinton, a 34-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service.


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