FREISTATT, Mo.-- In an effort to return to financial stabilitiy but keep the nation's smallest post offices open, theU.S. Postal Serviceannounced a new plan to be implemented over the next couple of years.
The plan proposes shorter hours for many rural post offices like Freistatt, where the U.S. Postal Serviceis proposing 4 hours of business a day instead of eight. But in the small Lawrence County town, just the news that the doors will stay open is a welcome relief.
It's a busy mail-handling day at Trinity Lutheran Church. "We have our shut-ins we mail stuff to every week," said Trinity Lutheran Church Secretary June Fritz.
Stuffing envelopes and sticking stamps takes enough time, but June was worried she'd soon be driving about ten miles instead of just down the street to send it off. "It was a big concern for all of us," says Fritz.
"I definitely did not want it to close, because Freistatt is kind of in the center between Mount Vernon and Monett, and I think a lot of people use it," said Glenda Schoen.
The community of fewer than 200 sent 222 comments to the Postal Service voicing their concerns.
"We were challenged, and by golly, were were going to fight. Our postal service is worth it, and especially our little post office here in Freistatt," says Freistatt City Clerk Deborah Schoen.
Most people in Freistatt don't even have mail boxes at home. They got to the post office to pick up their mail every day. "It's the hub of the town. This is where everybody meets," says Deborah.
"It's a great place to just stop and visit and pick up all the gossip and that sort of thing too!" said Fritz.
The news that the doors won't have to close is like a new lease on life. "I'm thrilled to death for our community. This is the best news I've heard in a long time," said Deborah.
It may even be an answer to their prayers. "I think everybody in the congregation that was involved in the post office anyway, was praying that it would remain open!" said Fritz.
Though they may soon see shorter hours, they'll get to keep a core part of their tight-knit community.
"Our postmaster here is friendly, and she goes out of her way to do anything she can to help everybody," said Fritz.
"It's an old fashioned way of doing business, but it works here," Deborah said.