mail carrierKick off the month of February festivities with National Thank a Mail Carrier Day! As our mail carriers continue to brave the wintry elements to deliver our mail on time, we should make an effort to express our appreciation and recognition of their valuable service.

The earliest form of a mail delivery system can be traced back to the Persians and the Greeks around 449 B.C., but the United States did not establish the first formal system until 1692 with postal riders depositing mail to each of the American colonies instead of to individual addresses. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress founded a United States Post Office and appointed Benjamin Franklin as the head of the department and Mary Katherine Goddard as possibly America’s first female postmaster. This first post office served a role in the American War for Independence, whereby courageous post riders rode on horseback across miles of territory to alert the colonies of new activity from British troops.

Two notable figures with ties to Illinois — President Abraham Lincoln and actor Rock Hudson — also served in the industry. President Lincoln was appointed postmaster in 1833 for the New Salem, Illinois post office before its closure in 1836. Hudson worked as a letter carrier in Winnetka, Illinois before becoming one of Hollywood’s favorite leading actors.

After gaining independence from Britain, the first officially recognized Post Office Department of the United States of America opened in 1792 and gradually evolved into the United States Postal Service we know today.

Today, a reliable and efficient mail carrier system fosters valuable connections, just as it served as a critical tool for expansion throughout history. On National Thank a Mail Carrier Day, we celebrate the mail carriers who continue to honor this service. Whether it be sending a letter or simply saying “thank you,” receiving recognition for dedication and hard work is a meaningful way to show them you care.