Photo credit: Valley News staff
Prior to the American Revolution against Great Britain, Benjamin Franklin served as the first Postmaster General of the United States under the British Crown. Franklin’s career in the postal service came from unpretentious beginnings when he was appointed Philadelphia Postmaster in 1737. Franklin used his position to increase the circulation of his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, by allowing riders to carry it to subscribers.
Eastern Jackson County resident Jim Grohman has risen through the ranks of the United States Postal Service as well. Grohman’s 33 years of service has progressed from starting as a night clerk, before becoming a window clerk, then carrier before ascending to postmaster. Grohman was 24 years old when he started his journey.
Grohman will have served as Grain Valley Postmaster just shy of eight years when he retires on April 30. Watching Grain Valley grow while seeing the community stay connected is something that has been a joy for Grohman.
“Grain Valley is a nice place to live. It’s a quieter community with pride,” Grohman said.
While away from his job, Grohman enjoys spending time with his family and playing Christian Rock music. Grohman is active playing in a faith based band and has written over 50 songs. This type of release has helped him achieve a good work-life balance.
Even three decades into his chosen career, Grohman still finds things he enjoys about his work.
“Helping people get their mail where it needs to go is rewarding. Knowing that you had part in accepting, sorting, or delivering a piece of mail that’s merchandise, a letter, or a package touches a lot of lives,” Grohman said.
“I can’t imagine how much mail I’ve moved over the years. Millions of pieces of mail. My satisfaction has come from sorting mail into post office boxes, or as a carrier delivering mail to its final place. There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with that work.”
Grohman continued, “That’s our job. Caring about the sanctity of mail and protecting it in getting it where it needs to go. Knowing you’re a part of an organization that dates to our colonial days in binding the nation together through correspondence is cool.”
The weight of being a postmaster for a community is not without stress. A postmaster serves as the head of an individual post office. Their duties include providing unit financial and delivery information to district post offices. Depending on the size of the post office and possible staff shortages, they may also jump in and sort mail, run the retail counter or deliver mail per the USPS website.
“There’s a lot of expectations when you become a postmaster. It’s a position that’s recognized in communities as a leadership position that carries a lot of responsibility. When you accept that title, it makes you want to do a good job,” Grohman said.
Grohman is thankful for the career he has had with the USPS, citing it has been a good job for a long time. Advice was also offered when asked what he would suggest for someone interested in a postal career.
“There are a lot of different opportunities in the postal service. Window clerk, mechanics for automated equipment, delivery trucks, carrier, etc. Expect long hours, and starting out is rough, but it gets better with opportunities for advancement. Give it a shot. Go to usps.com and scroll down to the career link at the bottom of the page,” Grohman said.
“City Carrier Assistants is the modern name for those that deliver mail. There’s major preparation in getting a route ready to deliver. You arrange packages after the route is prepared, scan them, and organize point of sequence mail.”
Grohman concluded, “Approximately 90% of delivery point of sequence mail is sitting in trays in the order it is to be delivered that day as well as residual mail that you have to case. Packing the presorted mail, with residual letters or magazines, newspapers, and packages comes next. Some drivers have three to four bundles to deliver.”
“You don’t know where you are going exactly when you start or where to park. It can be easy to get lost on rural routes. As you train, you also need to make the route in a certain amount of time while practicing safety at all times.”
There were numerous people who contacted Grain Valley News requesting we do a story highlighting Jim Grohman’s service to the community. They all mentioned being grateful to know someone who cared about their job as much as Jim.