NORWOOD — Joe Keller, postmaster of the Morton Post Office and officer in charge of the Norwood Post Office, says he learned his strong work ethic and learned to do his job well, following the example of his “No. 1 hero.
His twin brother Mike Keller, postmaster of the Swarthmore post office and officer in charge of the Marcus Hook post office, echoed his brother’s statement. Mike said he had the exact same hero, on and off the job.
The men were talking about their father, John Keller, also known as the Keller family superhero, as well as the retired postmaster of the Ridley Park Post Office.
It’s all in the family for the Kellers.
All three men found long and successful career paths through the United States Postal Service.
“Most people know someone who works or has worked for the Postal Service over the years,” said Paul Smith, spokesman for the Eastern Region office. “I am sure the Keller family legacy has touched the lives of thousands of customers. We are proud of their dedication and commitment to the Postal Service.
“In His Footsteps”
John worked for the Postal Service for 34 years and was Postmaster for 15, where he served Morton, Sharon Hill, Folcroft and Ridley Park.
John, a resident of Ridley Park for 57 years, and his wife, Sue, have eight children and 35 grandchildren.
Of their eight children, three went to work at the post office.
Early in his time as a courier, his son Bobby, Joe and Mike’s older brother, was bitten by a dog while delivering mail in Chester. After recovering, he found success in a different field, but the twin postmasters say they couldn’t be happier with their decision to emulate their father by choosing a career at the USPS.
“It’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever had, sitting down and talking with my sons from the post office,” John shared, gazing proudly at the two current postmasters.
The postal retiree now works for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as sexton at St. Madeline Parish in Ridley Park, a position the longtime parishioner has held since retiring 25 years ago.
“Our talks really taught me a lot,” Joe said sincerely. “My dad is my hero both personally and professionally. He’s just an awesome person in every way. I see my job here as an opportunity to walk in his shoes, to follow in his footsteps.
“We call each other every day and it’s great to have my dad and brother to talk shop with,” added Mike. “My dad is my true hero and someone I can model my life on. When I look at what he’s accomplished over the years, it’s amazing. He gives us high standards to match.
The twin brothers began their postal careers as letter carriers in Chester. Ten years later, Mike became a supervisor in Chester. He now has 23 years in the postal sector, including 12 years in management. Mike and his wife, Sharon, along with their five children, live in Prospect Park.
“My priority as postmaster is to keep my employees safe,” explained Mike. “I look at them as if they were my children and I protect them in every way at work. My job is to be the leader and someone they can turn to in any case.
Joe, a father of six, lives in Morton with his wife, Teri. He has also worked for the USPS for 23 years, in several post offices, including eight years in management.
“As the postmaster and officer in charge, you manage the day-to-day operations of receiving and distributing mail and packages,” Joe explained. “I oversee accountability and timeliness, and make sure the courier operation runs smoothly and help keep everyone here on track.”
“New machines and more hiring”
Postmasters agreed that the festive season may be the busiest time of year, but they are optimistic that recent improvements have made 2022 one of the most efficient and best to date for mail and package delivery.
“We’re ready to go this holiday season more than any before it, for first-class cards, letters and packages,” Joe explained. “We have new machines and more hires.”
As the saying goes, neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail shall prevent letter carriers from making their appointed rounds and today’s National Postal Service continues to try to be slogan height.
The Postal Service implemented the Delivering for America plan, stabilizing the permanent USPS workforce by converting 100,000 full-time workers since the start of 2021, with more than 41,000 part-time workers converted this year alone .
The USPS also hired 28,000 additional seasonal workers ahead of this year’s holiday season and began installing 137 new package sorting machines across the country.
This brings the organization’s total to 249 new processing machines since the launch of the Delivering for America plan. The new equipment combined with increased operational precision will increase the daily parcel handling capacity to 60 million.
“We started planning for this holiday season last January,” Joe remarked.
Since January, USPS has installed 121 of 137 new package sorting machines ahead of the holiday season. Locally, there are machines in the Philadelphia Network Distribution Center, the Zone Annex, and the Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center.
“The parcel business is far larger than the letter and card business at the post office in the country,” Mike said, “and it keeps growing.”
Although the Postal Service is a federal agency, it generally does not receive tax dollars for its operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, goods, and services to fund its operations.
The Kellers advise customers to post early to ensure arrival before Christmas. First class parcels, cards and letters must be posted by December 17 and priority mail service by December 19.
Additional news and information, including all domestic, international, and military mailing and shipping deadlines, and tips for protecting the mail can be found on the Postal Service’s Holiday Newsroom at http ://usps.com/holidaynews.
In addition to its holiday-ready letter, card and package operation, Operation Santa Claus continues to be in effect, when children can send letters to Santa and, more often than not, receive a letter in answer. The Kellers said their local post offices have several elves working in their spare time to help Santa with the letters.
“A wonderful job”
The USPS is always hiring and looking for quality employees. All three of Keller’s men speak highly of choosing the USPS as a career.
“Starting as a postman is a great job,” said Mike. ” Are you your own boss. You get to know everyone in the neighborhood. The pay is decent, you exercise in the fresh air, you earn enough to support a family, there are unlimited opportunities for advancement and there is a very good pension plan.
“When you’re a carrier, you build a relationship with the people on your route,” John added. “Sometimes you can be the only person a customer sees all day. Carriers are also like guardians of the city, as they get to know the routine of the neighborhood and can tell if something is wrong or wrong. I have supported all of my children throughout my career at the USPS and it has opened up opportunities for me in education and more.
Mike said the post office is currently looking to hire about 20,000 additional employees nationwide. Those interested in learning more about career positions and how to apply can visit usps.com for more information or stop by their local post office.
Joe added that the Postal Service is constantly changing and evolving and offers many opportunities.
“The USPS is very important for upward mobility,” he said. “If you’re enthusiastic, work hard and have a good, positive attitude, there’s no limit to what you can do.”
Twin brothers Joe and Mike Keller should know.
Their father, their real-life hero, created a professional legacy of professionalism and success and as a result, both local postmasters excelled in their jobs, as did mail and parcels, a priority.