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Jessica Ballou, Published August 05 2012

USPS carrier walks his route to deliver the mail

FARGO – Rain or shine, snow or sleet, Mike Fosberg will be outside delivering the mail.

Some postal workers deliver mail directly from their car to a mailbox, but that is not the case for Fosberg.

As a letter carrier with the United States Postal Service, Fosberg walks an average of 10 miles a day delivering mail right to people’s homes.

Q: What’s your daily schedule usually like?

A: Normally, on a regular day, my schedule is 7:30 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.). There are a few people on overtime, so sometimes we’re here 7:30 (a.m.) to 6 (p.m.), but we try to get all the mail done by 6.

I spend an hour or an hour and a half in the office sorting mail and getting my truck ready. I spend the rest of the time in the streets.

You get used to (the walking).

I do two blocks at a time, and it takes about 15 minutes per block. Then I reload from my truck and walk another two blocks.

I move the truck an hour at a time. Winter changes that a bit.

What is it like to deliver mail in the heat we’ve been having?

The excessive heat wears on you. It’s tough. You gotta stay hydrated.

I’m like the safety and health guy to the other carriers. If you need a break in the shade, take a few minutes.

I don’t know how accurate it is, but I have a store-bought thermometer in my truck, and sometimes with all the glass in there and everything, it can be over 120 degrees in our vehicles.

With walking, you get the breeze.

The legs get tired. The first thing I do is hit the recliner when I get home.

Do you ever get pets chasing you or anything like that?

The stereotypical dogs, it’s true, but it goes both ways. Some dogs are not so nice, and others are friendly.

We have had carriers that were bitten before. We just ask that dogs be on the leash and away from the mailbox when we come.

For the most part, I’ve gotten pretty good dogs on my route.

What do you enjoy most about this job?

The customers, the patrons. You get to know so many people.

With the elderly, a lot of times you’re the only one they get to see on a daily basis.

It’s not technically part of the job description, but if we see a mailbox filling up and normally they get their mail every day, we’ll check and make sure the people are all right.

We kind of look out for everyone in the neighborhood. We do kind of up and above our job description.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 241-5509