RUDOLPH, Ohio (AP) – The most famous postmark of all has been saved, thanks to volunteers in the northwest Ohio village of Rudolph.
Thousands of letters flood the village post office every December so that they can be stamped with a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer postmark. But the tradition was in danger of ending when the post office staff was cut down to one, and the work became too much to handle.
“I struggled with it for a little bit, but then I just realized no matter what I wanted, it couldn’t be done by me alone,” said Charlotte Lamb, who’s in charge of the tiny post office.
When word spread, pleadings from local politicians and townsfolk persuaded the U.S. Postal Service to allow volunteers to stamp the special Reindeer Station postmark on the 80,000 letters and cards that come in from across the country.
Close to 75 people, including a few retired postal workers, have signed up to work daily shifts.
“I’m retired, and I always thought this was a great service,” said Mace Brumbaugh, who brought her own bag of Christmas cards to mail. “That’s why we’re here, to help one another.”
Some people drive for hours with bundles of mail to get the postmark. But most out-of-towners send their cards, letters and packages to Rudolph by mail.
No one seems to remember when the tradition started. The post office got permission in the early 1990s to add a drawing of the famous reindeer to its postal cancellation during the month of December.
Since then, they’ve tinkered with the design to make each year unique.
The post office doesn’t see much traffic in all the other months, and with the postal service facing huge financial losses, the staff was cut from two to one in October.
Lamb knew giving up the holiday postmark would be tough, especially after telling one customer. “When I told him we’re not doing it this year, his mouth about hit the floor,” she said. “I thought, `Man, I’m going to be doing this all month long.'”
Officials in Liberty Township, where the post office is located, asked a local state lawmaker for help.
“That is our trademark,” said Rod Lucas, the township’s fiscal officer. “People send packages from all over the country.”
The reindeer stamp generates about $8,000 to $10,000 in revenue for the post office. Without that money, it might not survive, said state Rep. Randy Gardner, who reached out to the postal service, which allowed the volunteers to take over the work.
“So Rudolph was saved,” Gardner said.
To get Rudolph’s postmark on your Christmas cards, send them already stamped, in a large envelope or box to: Postmaster, Rudolph, Ohio 43462.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns