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Rollins Fork Post Office was there one day but gone the next. Residents don't understand why.
One Rollins Fork resident says he objects to the 'nasty' way that Postal Service officials closed the rural post office.
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Date published: 7/13/2003
One day, the people of rural King George County were picking up their mail from the Rollins Fork Post Office as usual.
The next day, the front door was locked, and a note said the U.S. Postal Service had shut the office down.
Suddenly, the patrons of Rollins Fork were thrust into a different way of life, one with roadside boxes and stamp-vending machines and trips to unfamiliar post offices to mail packages.
"Some of the older people in the community are just completely heartbroken," said Ruth Daiger, who used to get her mail at Rollins Fork. "The community seems more remote without a gathering place."
For several decades, the small post office had been a comfortable part of residents' daily lives. Tucked into the narrower half of an old two-car garage on State Route 3 near the Westmoreland County line, it was a place to catch up with neighbors while taking care of postal needs.
Mail came general delivery, so post officer in charge Brenda Hardy handed it to people when they came in. The personal interaction meant much to Rollins Fork patrons, whose post office, at 250 square feet, was the county's smallest.
They recall Hardy keeping the office open late at times to make sure everyone got the day's mail. Customer Cecil Coates remembers Hardy helping him fill out money-order forms because he couldn't see well enough to do it.
"Miss Hardy, she didn't have to do it, but she was just accommodating," Coates said.
But at the start of this year, Hardy unexpectedly lost her job--an occurrence customers now see as the beginning of the end for the Rollins Fork office.
The Postal Service advertised an opening for Rollins Fork postmaster, even though Hardy was still on the job. Technically, her position had been temporary for 15 years.
So she applied for the permanent postmaster job, figuring she'd get it.
"I didn't think anybody else would apply for it," Hardy said.
But a woman from out of the area did--and got the job. Hardy's days in the office were over.
"It went downhill after she left," Coates said.
Not long after the new postmaster came, the Postal Service promoted the woman, who soon left Rollins Fork.