Delivering the Mail Through Rain, Shine, Snow, and Covid

Anthony delivering mail in the neighborhood on a snowy January day. Photo by Lilian Pintea

An Interview with Anthony St. Hill, USPS Postal Carrier
by Anna White

If you live in the neighborhood, particularly on Glen Ross Rd. or south, there’s a good chance you’ve crossed paths with Anthony St. Hill, a USPS postal carrier who has delivered mail to the neighborhood for almost 15 years—as a one-day-a-week replacement carrier for over six years and then full-time for the past eight. He is one of two postal carriers who serve North Woodside full-time; the other is Marqueze Bradley, who has delivered in the northern section of North Woodside for three years. Known for his conscientious service, Anthony knows by heart the names and addresses of all the neighbors—human and canine—along his route. In January, he graciously agreed to a phone interview on his one day off.

What is a typical workday and workweek for you?

On a regular day, we deliver packages and mail simultaneously. Only during Christmas season do we deliver earlier. Then we come in at 5:00 am and deliver packages until 8:00 am. My normal route starts at 7:45 am and goes to 4:25 pm—that’s my regular eight-hour day—but every day we have an additional two to three hours. I work six days a week. For regular carriers, the only day off is Sunday.

Do you get overtime pay?

Yes, we do get overtime because we are unionized. We get overtime after eight hours and then after 10 hours, we go into penalty time, which is double. We work anywhere from 10 to 12 hours on a daily basis. And with this COVID and stuff it’s even worse. Sometimes we have 10 to 12 carriers out sick, and then we have to cover those routes because the mail and the packages have to go there every day.

COVID has impacted your work?

At my station now we have about 10 carriers out. [Last year] it was the same way, and I was out. At the beginning I thought it was pneumonia, but when I got tested I was positive. Some of the people who worked next to me tested positive and management never told me, so then I was out almost the entire month of January 2021. With COVID it makes [the job] more strenuous, working longer hours on a daily basis, due to packages increasing with everyone ordering online and covering coworkers who are out sick.

What do you like about working in the neighborhood?

I love working in the neighborhood. For me, it’s like a family environment because I know each and every tenant on my route and they know me. I start at 2nd Ave. where the nursing home is and cover 2nd Ave., Hanover, Glen Ross, Lanier, Grace Church, Elkhart, 16th, the townhouses on Lyttonsville, the high-rises—all that is my environment. The families know me, the kids they know me, even the pets know me. I love my route because I love my tenants. They look out for me, and I look out for them. Most of my customers have access to my phone number. When they don’t see me for two or three days they call me to make sure I’m okay, on vacation. Is there any way neighbors could make doing your job easier? If you have a dog [that stays outside] put your mailbox at the curb to avoid any dog biting, because dogs are by nature territorial. That’s the only thing I would say. If the dog is inside, no problem. Most biting happens during summertime and other times when children are on break; children like to run outside to play and [forget] to close the storm door. If you are expecting mail, make sure your dog is inside.

Any interesting stories related to delivering mail in the neighborhood?

There are dogs I have to say hi to. When the owners are walking them and they pick up my scent I have to say hello to them or just pet them or they will not continue. And those are big dogs—Chula, she’s a pit bull. She lives in the high-rise. Anytime the owner walks her, she says, “Chula becomes a puppy when she sees you!” I have to pet her or she will not let the owner carry her anywhere else. Then I have Luna, on Lanier. She’s a husky with blue eyes. Same way. I have to say hi to her or she will not move. And I have Charlie. I have to say hello to him every time [or he] will keep barking and barking. People ask me, “You not afraid of dogs?” No, I grew up knowing dogs. I know about dogs. [The dogs on my route] are like extended family. Have to say hi to them or they will not continue their walk.

Is there anything about yourself you’d like to share with neighbors?

I was born in Panama, and I dance my national music. That is what exposed me to the world. My first travel outside of my country was [through dancing]. I used to perform on a ship in the Panama Canal from 1984 all the way to 1999, when I came to the United States. And I still perform my national music. I was one of the top dancers when I used to perform in my country. And I still perform here. I like it. I love it. I retired from dancing for six to seven years, but I started dancing again.

Anything else?

Like you to know I’m married, I have five kids, four grandbabies. That’s basically it. I’m a very religious person. I’m a faith Christian. God is the center my life. I’m Episcopalian. I usually go to church every Sunday. Only Sunday don’t go to church when I have to work. Other than that in church every Sunday. And that’s it. That’s who I am.

UPDATE: September 9, 2022 is Anthony’s final day delivering mail in the neighborhood. If you would like to express your appreciation to Anthony for his many years of excellent service, contact the NWCA Communications Coordinator for more information.

2021 North Woodside Dog Scavenger Hunt

At long last, the updated North Woodside Doggie Directory, featuring 33 fine neighborhood furry (and one not-so-furry) friends, is ready to be unveiled!  North Woodside residents may request a copy by email.

The dogs — of many ages, sizes, types and colors — have traveled from near and far (in one case, as far away as Kosovo) to live in North Woodside. One recently moved with his humans to the neighborhood, and another will be moving away soon (so try spotting him while you still can!).  There are four pairs of “doggie doubles” (dogs who live in the same household) and many rescue dogs, including a rather sedentary one.

Now for the fun….

Between now and June 21, 2021 (not quite the “dog days of summer”, but the beginning of summer, nevertheless), neighbors of all ages are invited to participate in the 2021 North Woodside Doggie Scavenger Hunt. 

Directions

  • Record the name and home street of each dog you spot in the neighborhood. Note:  You may not include canine members of your own household, but the more you walk them the more likely other neighbors will spot them!  Put a star next to all dogs spotted who are listed in the Doggie Directory.  These will be worth bonus points.
  • Keep track of how many times you spot each dog. Note: Maximum of one tally per walk (i.e. if you encounter the same dog twice during a walk, you may count them only once; but if you encounter them once during a morning walk and once during an evening walk, you may count them twice.) “Per walk” refers to the dog’s walk and/or your walk, if applicable; it is fine to sit in front of your house and record the dogs that pass by!
  • Submit your final tallies by June 21 to be eligible for prizes, and to allow the prize-winning dogs and amount raised for a local dog rescue organization to be determined.  The nature of this scavenger hunt is that dog sightings of any quantity will count toward determining the dog winners and final donation amount — so all are encouraged to submit their tallies, regardless of how many or few dogs spotted.  

Would you like a handy dandy dog tallying sheet? Email the organizer to receive one.

Prizes and awards for: the human neighbors who spot the most dogs, the most-spotted dog, the most-spotted dog listed in Doggie Directory, and more! 

BONUS: All dogs spotted will help raise funds for a local dog rescue organization!

Dogs have helped many get through this past pandemic year. Let’s give some love to one or more local organizations that have been working hard to find rescued dogs loving homes, e.g. Knine Rescue (“Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.”).  Feel free to suggest others.

For starters, for every dog spotted 25 cents will be donated. But if enough pledges come in, we may be able to raise this amount.  You may pledge: a specific amount or an increase in the amount donated per dog spotted.  If your contribution is in honor of a dear canine companion, living or deceased, please note.

Questions? Want to make a pledge?
Email the organizer

Have a WOOF-iful time spotting and getting acquainted with the dogs (and their humans) of the neighborhood!

A few of the many you might get lucky to spot…