It’s been a very busy month for one group of Barrington workers in particular. The men and women of the Barrington post office have been working overtime, lifting packages, sorting cards and delivering heaps of holiday mail to make sure all of our packages and cards arrived on time this year. I stopped by the main post office during the holiday rush to catch up with the mail carriers before they headed out on their routes. They were all busy sorting, but a few obliged when I asked them to strike a pose.
Did you know Barrington has almost 20,000 mailing addresses? About 150 employees, including retail clerks, processing clerks and 80 mail carriers manage the mail delivered to zip codes 60010 and 60011. There are 32 city routes and 15 rural routes in Barrington. A spokesperson for the Barrington Post Office, Sean Hargadon, told me that the U.S. Postal Service delivers close to 16-Billion cards, letters and packages nationwide from Thanksgiving through Christmas. And Sean says Barrington is a high volume mail area “Because there’s more disposable income in Barrington, which means there are more packages, more letters and more cards.”
I asked some of the mail carriers pictured above to describe what their jobs are like this time of year. Dave Lisi was pretty chipper when he told me, “The hardest part is getting out of bed in the morning…and the wear and tear on your body.” Dave delivers to businesses on Northwest Highway and residences off of Dundee Road. He’s been on the job for 34 years and plans to retire in 2011.
Christine Tyus has been a mail carrier in Barrington since 1996. She says she enjoys working this time of year. “I like the joy and the smile on kids’ faces when you deliver packages to them…and all that fruit from Florida. It’s a challenge, but it’s exciting. Not your typical week like in the summer or the spring.” Christine delivers mail in the Barrington Village on streets like Grove, Cook, Summit and Hillside.
And Jim Barra made a point of telling me about his son, Joe. He proudly showed me Joe’s photo which is on display at the top of his mail sorting station.
Jim says Joe left a high paying job at the post office two years ago to serve as a mortar team leader with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan.
Jim says people like his son “…are sacrificing a lot for us over there just so we can sleep at night. A lot of these kids, they didn’t have to join the service. But they were willing to go because they feel that freedom is very important to the world.” Jim told me his son will return home this week and says it was tough to see him go. “I wished him the best and just told him to be safe and take care and I was very proud of him.”
Jim Barra has been a mail carrier in Barrington for 32 years. He delivers mail in the Port Barrington area.
Barrington post office spokesman, Sean Hargadon, says the harsh winter weather ahead can make things rough on our mail carriers. “It gets dark and it gets dangerous and it’s 4-degrees and icy. If you do that for a whole week it really knocks you out and imagine doing that for a whole winter season. It really helps when our customers keep things cleared so we can deliver the mail to you safely.”