I had the great pleasure of living in a classic small town in Virginia for a number of years. It looked like it jumped out of a Norman Rockwell painting and hosted the requisite small town July 4th parade and apple pie baking contests. It was lovely.
I was totally enamored with the small town atmosphere and could not believe my good fortune when I learned we had moved in next store to a writer and a postman. There was just something about living next store to a postman that completed the quaint small town vision I had painted in my head.
This postman was classically trained, which in my mind meant he walked his postal route up and down tree lined streets among the picket fences (ok I may be going a bit overboard on the descriptors).
I had never encountered a postman who delivered mail by foot with the help of the rolling mail cart. He was personable and often brought peppers from his garden or home baked bread along with him on his route.
As a child I had always heard the unofficial creed of the postman that task them with delivering mail in all sorts of conditions, but had never taken it too seriously. I just figured it was something they said, not an actual credo.
Once we moved in such close proximity to a mail carrier (which I am certain is the correct reference that I will use for the remainder of the column), I knew I would have the opportunity to observe the seriousness of the commitment to the motto.
My new neighbor patiently shared that the creed I was referencing was not official in anyway, but he was able to recite it on cue. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
I smiled politely and decided I would not ask any more questions and just quietly observe him over the change of the seasons and weather conditions.
One year in I realized official or not he lived by the creed. I cannot think of a day we didn’t receive our mail. He was a committed professional and beyond that had the best attitude I had ever seen. When I would complain about a rainy day he would be donned in yellow rain gear and a smile, snow brought out a heavy coat, woolen cap and some whistling and the holiday mail kept him working overtime.
Watching him taught me that when you care about something that nothing would stand in your way to complete an appointed task or round.
I had not thought of this mail carrier in quite a while until over the last few weeks when I observed Southwest Floridians weather some uncharacteristic rain, wind and tornados.
We are in the height of season and are enjoying winter residents, bustling roads and restaurants and all sorts of cultural and fundraising events. This time of year in Southwest Florida residents and guests can find something interesting going on and lots of opportunities to support local causes and charities.
So it was not surprising when the storms hit organizations worried if supporters would be willing to come out and brave the weather. Relief groups and municipalities were concerned how to best aid those hit by tornados and wind damage and wondered if volunteers would be able to dodge the elements long enough to assist with clean up and offer much needed support.
But from all accounts it appears that Southwest Floridians have the heart of a small town postman.
Over the past few weeks, the fundraisers have been packed, clean up efforts are underway and just last night I attended a sold out play in which most of the patrons were first time visitors. No one in the theatre had dry clothes or hair but they were there in support of the arts.
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays compassionate Southwest Floridian’s from the swift and caring completion of their appointed rounds. A creed we can all live by.
About the SWFL Community Foundation
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants. Want to be part? It all starts with a conversation. Please call (239) 274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.