by Lisa Tome
Lynne Reed said that at first, the people of Charlestown didn't want her.
Last week, they didn't want to let her go.
"I'm leaving. I'm going to Childs. It's closer to home and I can still survive," said Reed, Charlestown's postmaster since 2002.
She was more than just the person who put up the mail. She kept track of Charlestown's deaths and births, in notebooks she carefully maintained. She also ran errands for her customers, picking up newspapers and such for elderly postal customers or those who couldn't get out.
"They were my family," Reed said on the day before she took the new job a few miles up the road.
She has worked for the postal service since 1995 when she signed on as temporary help. She accepted a career position in 1998. She worked at post offices in Childs, Chestertown, and Aberdeen Proving Ground before being assigned to Charlestown.
"The main reason that I'm going is because I need a job. And I don't want to drive 40 miles one way to work. I don't want to work just to put gas in my car," she said.
"When I first came here, people said they didn't want me here. Now, everybody loves me," said Reed.
"She has been a wonderful postmaster. We're sorry to lose her," said Charlestown resident Pete Williams.
"This (move) happened so fast. I might type up a letter and post it for the residents to thank them for 12 wonderful years," said Reed, who was tearful as she put mail in the office's nearly 400 boxes.
"I'm going to miss the closeness, the camaraderie with the people. We're not related by blood. We're related by compassion," she said.
Kevin Boyd who was formerly at Colora post office has taken over for Reed. "The permanent (replacement) has not been announced," said Reed. Reed is on the move due to recent plans announced for changes at the Charlestown Post Office.
In June 2013, Freda Sauter, Corporate Communications for the United States Postal Service, said there are no plans to close that post office or reduce the hours.
"There are no plans to reduce Charlestown Post Office hours," wrote Sauter in an email. "The Post Offices that are on the list (for reduction of hours) do not have Postmasters. The offices are vacant and have an Officer-in Charge (acting Postmaster). Charlestown Post Office was taken off the list to reduce hours because the office has a permanent Postmaster."
While Charlestown was not impacted on prior rounds of postal service changes, the time has now come.
On Tuesday, August 12 at noon, a meeting will be held at the post office. Four options will be outlined:
• Keeping the post office open four hours a day.
• Conduct a discontinuance study and offer roadside mailbox delivery.
• Conduct a discontinuance study and find a suitable alternative operated by a contractor.
• Conduct a discontinuance study and provide P.O. Box service at another post office.
In late January 2011, the Postmaster General announced that as many as 2,000 post offices in the U.S. may close as a cost cutting measure. Other post offices are under review for ways to reduce spending.