Thursday, February 23, 2012
Walker new Byhalia postmaster
By BARRY BURLESON
Laura Walker is happy to be working in a small town close to her home in Memphis, Tenn.
She began her new duties as postmaster at Byhalia January 19.
“It’s nice to be in a small, tight-knit community,” Walker said. “I’m looking forward to being here awhile.”
She replaces long-time postmaster Mike Malone, who recently retired.
“It’s a smaller place - where I can get to know the customers and the employees,” she said.
She has also spent some time out of the office, visiting community leaders.
“Everybody is really nice,” Walker said. “I wanted people to know who I am, and that I’m here to help.”
She spent 13 years in the Army all over the world. Her job duties varied from logistics, to dental assistant, to dental hygienist to managing dental facilities.
She then went to work for FedEx in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1994. Her husband, John, retired from the military, and they decided to move to Memphis, where she continued her work with FedEx until 1996.
That’s when she decided to look into the United States Postal Service, where her 13 years in the military would count toward her retirement.
“I took the test, and figured it would be a long time before I heard anything,” Walker said. “I was hired three months after taking the test.”
She started in Memphis as a letter carrier and progressed to management at locations in Collierville, Tenn., Germantown, Tenn., Cordova, Tenn., and most recently Clarksdale before the move to Byhalia.
In addition to Walker, Byhalia Post Office employees include 10 regular carriers, five substitutes and two clerks.
The United States Postal Service is facing some tough times financially. Big changes, which could include possible closures of some rural post offices, are expected to be announced in May.
Walker said previous changes and cutbacks have already put more of a demand on a postmaster’s time.
“We’re having to do more in the office than was required back in the day, but at the same time, we still have to be involved in the community we serve and make sure our customers are taken care of.”
One of the big things awaiting the Byhalia Post Office will be some route adjustments as I-69 construction takes place.
“We’re here to assist,” she said.
The Walkers have two children, Andrea, 26, and Christina, 23, and three grandchildren. Both daughters are in the military and both are also married to soldiers.
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