Briefs and Featured Articles

UPMA—What This “Family” Means to Me

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 12/05/17

I’m so grateful that I am part of the UPMA family. And I know my RCA, who desperately needed help, also is grateful for the connections.

          Over the weekend, my RCA lost her sister-in-law to cancer; she had been battling it for nine years. Her death was a surprise; the family was not prepared. So, they began preparations to gather in Omaha, NE.

          On Sunday night, my RCA found out her brother was coming from Georgia. He originally had planned it as a surprise visit over the Fourth of July, but now was driving the family from Georgia. On Sunday evening, he hit a deer on the interstate, which disabled the car. After numerous phone calls, the sheriff picked the family up and took them to a hotel for the night. The car was not drivable.

          Monday morning—after many phone calls by the RCA and her brother—they found a rental car. But the vehicle was 55 miles away and Enterprise would not pick them up. The town of 2,600 people there were at did not have taxi service. The tow-truck driver would be at least two or three hours before picking them up and could take only one person with him to the rental car. Then they would have to backtrack 55 miles to get the rest of the family.

          Another kicker was the credit card they were using wasn’t the person’s who was going to be driving; money issues didn’t help. My RCA was at her wit’s end when she came to my office to discuss the matter.

          Her brother and family are stuck in Kentucky—about an hour outside Nashville, TN, and 1.5 hours from St. Louis. If my RCA went to get them, she would have about a 15-hour drive straight through, then the drive back. She asked if I had any ideas on how to make this work or to help. I told her to give me a few minutes and I would reach out to Postmasters and retirees and see what I could do.

          I found a Postmaster’s name, but couldn’t get an answer on the phone—just an answering machine. Next, I called some Tennessee buddies. Some were out of their offices working, others didn’t have anyone who could help right away. I even got an offer from a Postmaster that, when he got off work, he would drive an hour and pick them up and take them the 55 miles north to get the rental car and get them on their way.

          I told him to let me work on it a little more. I got names of people and talked to several in Tennessee and Kentucky. Then it was suggested that one of the churches might be willing to help. So, with Google’s help, I contacted a church in the community.

          When I contacted this pastor, he dropped everything and asked if the family was ready to leave. He drove to the hotel, picked the family of four up, drove them to their rental car, made sure they had what they needed and saw them on their way before he turned around to head home. When I told my RCA, she looked amazed and couldn’t believe that, within 15 minutes, we had so many people working on this issue and everything was resolved.

          As I said, UPMA is family. I wouldn’t have been able to offer this help or know to whom to turn without my family. Everyone was so generous with their help and took time out of their mornings to find a solution. Again, thank you, fellow Postmasters and retirees!


Submitted by
Michelle C Feldhacker
North Sioux City, SD
UPMA Postal Area Coordinator
Western 2 Area Districts