Postal Workers Become Santas After Western Blizzard

Associated Press
Monday, December 25, 2006

DENVER, Dec. 24 -- An army of 1,500 mail carriers fanned out across Colorado and Wyoming on Christmas Eve, making rare Sunday deliveries in a bid to get hundreds of thousands of blizzard-delayed packages to their destinations on time.

Normally, about 100 carriers would be working on Sunday, Postal Service spokesman Al DeSarro said. The extra workers all volunteered for the additional duty, he said.

A blizzard dropped up to 3 1/2 feet of snow on Colorado and Wyoming last week, disrupting mail service for parts of three days amid the Christmas delivery crunch. The storm also shut down roads, businesses, schools and airports -- including Denver International, the nation's fifth-busiest.

The airport closing delayed mail arriving from elsewhere as well as deliveries within the two states.

"There were flights of packages that didn't get in until Saturday morning," DeSarro said, adding that 300,000 packages arrived at post offices in the two states on Saturday and Sunday.

Mail carrier Robin Smith, who was delivering packages in suburban Aurora, said she volunteered for the gratification of helping other people.

"I have two little girls, a 10- and a 6-year-old, and they think it's really cool that I'm playing Santa Claus," she said.

Smith said one elderly woman was overwhelmed when she knocked on her door and handed her a package.

"She looked very lonely and her car was buried" in snow, Smith said. "She was like, 'I didn't know I would see this.' I gave her a great big one. It was to 'Grandma.' "

DeSarro said about 500 carriers would make deliveries on Christmas Day.

"It's going to be a huge load," he said.

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