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Mail carriers continue walking deliveries even during snow storm

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Whether it's snow, rain, or heat -- just about any weather element, for that matter, delivering mail is one job that never gets a break.

More than 60 letter carriers headed out into La Crosse's snowy streets to deliver the mail Thursday.

With the holiday season in full swing, this is the busiest time of year for the post office, and for one letter carrier, getting the job done, at least on this day, actually works better on foot than having a set of wheels.

"Watch out," said Brad Wilves, a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service La Crosse branch. "These stairs are slick."

Just a little more than an hour into his shift, Wilves had a hunch it might be a long day.


"It's been at least two years since I've been in anything (snow) this deep, and obviously we haven't seen it all today," Wilves. "It's going to keep coming."

For 15 years, he's battled all sorts of weather elements, including snow, to deliver mail to La Crosse residents both by foot and by truck.

"The ideal time schedule will not be met today," said Wilves.

On days when the city streets are covered in white, the truck is not his transportation of choice.

"The truck has been pretty much worthless today," said Wilves. "It's been more stuck than it's been useful."

He has about 1,700 letters and a couple dozen packages to deliver. It's a slightly heavier load than usual because of the holidays.

"Just this time of year, the parcels, we're delivering more packages than anything," said Wilves.

"Merry Christmas ma'am," he said to a resident.

So one by one and step by step, he gets the job done slowly but surely.

"Thank you," he said to another resident. "Have a good day."

"It is part of the job," said Wilves. "Hazards are what you sign up for."

And he looks forward to a good night's rest before he heads out again tomorrow.

"I'm definitely going to have tired legs and sleep pretty good tonight," said Wilves.

Wilves said most letter carriers agree: snow is actually not the worst conditions to deliver mail in.

They consider 33 to 34 degrees and raining to be the worst because no matter what they do, it's cold, and they always run out of dry clothes.

The postal service says it's on track to deliver all holiday shipments on time.

Officials ask that the public clear their sidewalks and the area surrounding their mailboxes as soon as possible to help letter carriers safely do their jobs.

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