By Konstantine Fekos
Whether it be a child peaking over the counter to stories of teenagers learning to drive, two area sisters have seemingly seen and heard it all during their 50-plus combined years at the Saegertown and Conneautville post offices.
And after hearing the good times and the bad from their countless patrons, Michelle Morgan Galle and Karen Urbanick’s time serving their communities will come to an end today as the mail clerks ship off to retirement from the U.S. Postal Service.
Galle, of the Saegertown Post Office, and Karen Urbanick, of the Conneautville Post Office, reflected on more than 25 years each of daily routines and the daily traffic of people stopping in for stamps, packages and a friendly hello.
“I’ve seen children grow up peeking over the counter, coming in to pick up mail or buy a stamp on their own, starting to drive and then having families of their own,” Galle said. “Through the years you bond with people, in good times and bad.”
The sisters’ compassion toward their communities were evident as passersby expressed their congratulations and sorrow upon hearing the news.
While Conneautville’s post office operates on a somewhat smaller scale compared to Saegertown’s, according to Urbanick, the sisters performed similar duties throughout the years, including waiting on customers at the counter, sorting mail and scanning packages, all while forging a bond with local residents.
“You never guess, taking on this position, what the people will mean to you,” Galle said. “Mainly the friendships — that’s what I’ll miss the most.”
The siblings entered the postal service in the late 1980s. Not only does their family have a background in the industry, with several relatives having served in states such as Ohio and Colorado, but the job offered them security as well as a sense of pride.
Urbanick, originally on a pathway to Bob Jones University in South Carolina for business and art, received a response to her postal service application and chose to serve in Conneautville for the duration of her postal career.
“I lived in Linesville, so I didn’t know anyone,” Urbanick said. “I got to know and love the town and the people.”
Just a few years later, inspired partly by the employment enjoyment perceived from a mailman who served her family, Galle got her start as a city carrier in Greenville before heading to Saegertown three years later.
Despite eventual industry cutbacks nationwide, the two stuck with their career choice until reduced hours and the prospect of an early retirement last October inspired the sisters in part to weigh their options.
Individually, they came to accept this opportunity as the best possible choice.
Galle opted to keep her future plans under wraps, simply taking the time to celebrate and reflect before she “(lives) life to the fullest.”
“I’m just thankful for the position I’m in,” she said.
Urbanick, on the other hand, may take the time to pursue her passion for the artistry through the blacklight chalk medium.
“If the Lord takes me in that direction, I have a ministry,” she said, describing her passion to bring a biblical message to her artistic training.
One thing is for sure, these public servants will not soon forget passing rows upon rows of Post Office boxes every day, nor the countless faces they’ve come to know and love.
“I always felt it was an honor to work for the postal system,” Urbanick said. “It’s part of the fabric of how America is run. It’s needed.”
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.