One of America's oldest and most important institutions, the United States Postal Service (USPS), is under siege and the veteran community needs to step up to defend it regardless of our personal political ideologies.
So why is the USPS trending? Unfortunately it is because of its increased inefficiencies, a confusing set of changes that at best are a botched attempt at restructuring and at worst an intentional gutting, and concerns over the USPSs ability to handle the influx of mail due to mail in ballots. There's a lot to unpack about the issue ranging from why this is happening, who is responsible, what the motives are and if there really is a case for privatization of the USPS. All great questions but it's what the USPS does for veterans that we are here to talk about.
The USPS is one of the largest employers of America's veterans and not by a small margin. According to the USPS website 97,000 of its employees are former service members. That's 16% of their employees. By comparison Amazon, which has 840,000 employees, has 17,500 military veterans and spouses employed. 97,000 veterans families depend on the USPS for employment and their hard work, diligence and continued service keeps our country running smoothly and saves fellow veterans' lives.
Now you may think surely that's an exaggeration, the USPS does not save lives. Well actually they do and in more ways than you might imagine. The Carrier Alert Program for one is a USPS service where mail-carriers will be attentive to accumulated mail at a previously recognized home and alert proper officials. In 2019 232 postal service employees received recognition as heroes for their work with the program. Not exactly veteran focused but it does show how the USPS impacts us in ways we might not normally consider.
But that's not all. If you're not following military oriented news groups like Task & Purpose you may have missed a startling piece of information. According to the statement on USPS delays from DAV National Commander Stephen “Butch” Whitehead “The VA has now confirmed to us that the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is responsible for delivering about 90% of all VA mail order prescriptions, has indeed been delayed in delivering these critical medications by an average of almost 25% over the past year”. That's alarming. Veterans struggle daily with the clusterfudeginess of the VA. Just getting to the point where medication is being sent to a veteran is a challenge but now that final step of medication arriving at their front doors is under threat as well. Without a consistently efficient postal service veterans prescription medications may not be delivered and there could be serious adverse health effects to hundreds of thousands of former service members.
There are many other points about how important the USPS, its several hundred year history, its affordability, its last mile services, and its accessibility to the public. All of these services and the support the USPS provides to the veteran community suffer egregiously with the reckless policies being embraced. Forget the politics, elections, and news and just ask yourself, “Do I support delaying medication being delivered timely to America's veterans, often by another veteran?”