SANDPOINT — Jerry Hahn is retiring from the U.S. Postal Service after more than three decades on the job.
“He’s the one that keeps the show going,” said Linda Oldridge, a former post master at the Sandpoint office.
Hahn began as a carrier in Whittier, Calif., in 1993. He moved on to supervisor and carrier posts in Moreno Valley and Hemet, Calif. He relocated to North Idaho around 1994 and worked as a carrier in Coeur d’Alene.
Growing up, Hahn had a feeling he would have a career in the postal service. After all, it’s practically baked into his DNA as his father was a carrier and his uncle was a postal inspector.
So what will Hahn miss as he enters retirement?
“The people, without a question,” he said.
“This office is the best office I’ve worked in.”
What he won’t miss?
“Micromanagement,” said Hahn.
Hahn still marvels at the awesome network of facilities, sorting equipment, scanners and people that allows even the smallest pieces of mail to get from one side of the country to the other in as little as three days. The postal service has also embraced GPS technology so people will be able to go online or send a text message to find out where their letter or parcel is.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Hahn said.
Hahn said the bar code scanner is one of the service’s most meaningful advancements, while penmanship remains a crucial element for consumers. Hahn said illegible addresses on parcels and envelopes continue to vex postal workers well into the digital age.
“It’s still an issue,” said Hahn.
Hahn said the postal service has come a long distance with regard to customer service. They are known to help low-income residents track down their Social Security checks.
But Hahn admits that was not always the case during his 34-year career. The postal service has been maligned as slow and unresponsive to customers’ needs, he said.
Surveys now hold that it is one of the more respected government agencies.
“It’s a whole new post office. It’s a very efficient operation,” said Hahn. “It’s really come a long way.”