• April 11, 2021

Postmaster prepares for new adventure - Odessa American: Local News

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Postmaster prepares for new adventure

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    United States Postal Service's Odessa postmaster Guadalupe "Chito" Ramirez stands for a portrait Wednesday morning in the post offices main lobby. Ramirez will be retiring after 36 years with the postal service with his last day on Friday. Ramirez began his career with the postal service in 1985. Ramirez said watching employees grow into the family atmosphere was the most rewarding experience in his time as postmaster.

Posted: Saturday, March 27, 2021 6:45 am

Guadalupe Ramirez doesn’t know when it will hit him that he’s retiring but he knows it will soon.

This week, the longtime postmaster, who also goes by the name Chito, retires after 36 years with the postal service. His last day was Friday.

Ramirez began his career with the postal service in 1985. Ten years later, he became the postmaster in Odessa where he remained until 2001 before taking the same position in Midland for the next nine years.

He returned to Odessa as postmaster in 2010 where he has been since.

As he reflects back on his career at the post office, he says one of the biggest things that he’s learned is how to treat people, whether it’s his employees or his customers.

“I’ve learned to treat people better with more dignity and respect because without them, we’re nothing,” Ramirez said. “Whether I’m here or in Midland or Chicago or New Orleans, the bottom line is that they’re still people and without them, we can’t function.”

Ramirez, who was born and raised in Van Horn, said one of the reasons why he’s retiring is to pursue other challenges after spending over 40 years working which included time spent serving in the military with the Marines before switching over to the postal service.

“It’s time to do something else,” Ramirez said. “Not to take anything from the postal service, it’s been a great career and I’ve loved every minute of it. But after 41 years, it’s time to see what else I can do. I’m young enough to where I know that I can do something else and see what other challenges there are.”

First, he plans on taking off four-six months.

“I have a lot of stuff that I have to do at the house. Now I have a real boss, 24/7,” Ramirez said with a smile, referring to his wife, Barbara Ramirez.

Eventually, he says he would like to become a teacher, adding that he plans to apply at Odessa College and UTPB as well a possibly get his certificate in safety training.

“Those are the things that I’m looking forward to,” Ramirez said. “For right now, I’m going to take a couple of months off to relax. My wife and I are big tailgaters but with COVID, tailgating has been minimized. Hopefully, we’ll get back to it and tailgate at Texas Tech sporting events, whether it’s baseball, football or whatever.”

He also plans on spending more time with his wife and family.

They have three daughters (Belissa Vasquez, Kimberly Phillips and Andrea Morales), one granddaughter and six grandsons.

“My wife says she’s become my scheduler,” Ramirez said. “My daughters, they all want me to go spend some time them and with the boys when they go on vacation. My work schedule is probably already loaded with what I have to do at the house and spending time with my daughters and grandchildren. It’ll be fun. I don’t foresee me standing around and doing nothing any day.”

During his time working in the postal service, Ramirez has seen many changes in the industry including technology.

“We came from doing everything on paper now into technology,” Ramirez said. “The hardest thing is supposedly going paperless. We haven’t gone paperless as much as you think but that’s been a challenge as far as running the business.”

As for delivering mail, Ramirez says nothing has changed.

“You still need people to carry the mail and deliver it,” Ramirez said. “People are still the main ingredient in the postal service industry. You have to have great people to do this job and Odessa has one of the finest people, the finest carriers, the finest clerks. They are the finest people you could work with.”

There are plenty of challenges facing the entire postal industry and with technology changing rapidly, that will continue to play a big part, according to Ramirez.

“When technology came in, there went our mail volume,” Ramirez said. “Our mail volume went down. The magazines went down. We had to compensate by cutting people and bring in more business from other avenues. Those are the things that have hurt us.”

While every day is always busy at all three of Odessa’s post offices (Ramirez worked at the location on 200 N. Texas Ave.) nothing will ever top what is known as “peak season” which is during the holiday months in November and December.

“Come right before Thanksgiving, the mail volume starts increasing tenfold, easily,” Ramirez said. “That’s one of the biggest challenges throughout the year. We have to figure out how to get all this mail delivered as timely as possible and without any mistakes."

However, probably the biggest question in the industry is how to get the mail delivered each and every day with the resources that are available and the amount of volume that is present.

“That’s the biggest challenge,” Ramirez said. “Do we have complaints, yes, but we do everything we can to minimize them. It’s tough because sometimes we have people on vacation or holiday or sick leave.”

The pandemic has also made for trying times.

“With the COVID situation, it’s been hard,” Ramirez said. “Because of it, it reduces our workforce. We’re not like any other organization. Our people have to be trained. We can’t go hire right off the street. We have to deliver the mail with the amount of people that we have that day. We can’t call for help. We are the help. That is the biggest challenge. That’s one of the most rewarding things in the postal industry.”

There have been good times but there have also been nightmares too.

The horrific events of the shooting from August 31, 2019 still remain in Ramirez’s head when mail carrier Mary Granados was shot to death by a gunman who then hijacked her postal mini-van.

“That was probably one of the harshest things I’ve ever endured in the postal service,” Ramirez said. “I did not personally know the young lady, I just knew who she was because she worked at the other station but there was heart-felt warmth from the employees at the other station and the employees here. She was a wonderful lady and I met her family and they are wonderful people.”

As he prepares for retirement, Ramirez has received a lot of praise from people who work with him.

“Working with him has been great,” customer service supervisor Barbara Ramirez (no relation) said. “We’re going to miss him. We’ve learned a lot from him, of course. We can learn everything that he’s taught us.”

Chief among those things they’ve learned has been patience, patience.

“With this job, with customers complaining, I know we make mistakes, we’ll get a lot of complaints and it takes a lot of patience,” Barbara said.

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