TROUT RUN - It's an iconic figure - the friendly postal deliverer making his or her rounds on foot, delivering packages at a leisurely pace and smiling at those who pass. However, for many small towns in Pennsylvania, this soon may become a distant memory.
Due to budget constraints, the postal service has been forced to find new ways to increase efficiency and decrease employees. Small, rural post offices, such as the Trout Run facility, recently have turned up on the chopping block.
A meeting was held Wednesday afternoon to gather information from concerned residents. Though the hours of operation should not change, the internal workings of the office may, and many mail carriers are concerned about what the changes will mean for them.
Trout Run-area residents listen as Russell Messner, local post office operations manager, outlines a plan to streamline the operations of the Trout Run post office on Wednesday.
In a packed room, Russell Messner, post office operations manager for the local area, discussed the changes that may happen at the office.
"I don't want to say that the carriers will definitely be moving to Williamsport. But I will say that it makes sense for them to be moved," Messner said.
"We are trying to consolidate mail processing plants and move carriers to bigger facilities," he added.
Kylen Bower, mail carrier, fears she and her co-workers will be forced into a longer commute and longer routes. She delivers to a local route that services 138 customers and drives only seven miles to get to work.
"If they send us down to Williamsport, they're adding almost another 25 miles on our routes," Bower said.
"If we do get sent to Williamsport, we won't be compensated for the extra cost of our longer commutes," she added.
Messner emphasized that no decisions have yet been made regarding the future of the Trout Run office.
"Right now, we're just listening to the customers and trying to hear what they would like us to do," Messner said. "I can't speak on the future of the mail carriers at this location."
But for the people who put food on their table by delivering the mail, the future remains uncertain.
"They keep saying we're on a need-to-know basis. Right now we're not sure what's going to happen to us," Bower said.
One local woman also expressed concern for the mail carriers. She said she worries the Postal Service has turned its back on the rural customer.
"The people who live in rural areas need the services a full post office provides. It seems like the people who live out in the country are just being forgotten," said Marilyn Bidlespacher, of Trout Run.
"This is going to put more burden on the carriers. They'll have to drive from their homes all the way to Williamsport to come back and deliver mail out here," she added.