Postal workers brave the cold to ensure the delivery of mail

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) --- North central Wisconsin is in the middle of a cold stretch, with many cities not seeing a high above 0 degrees Fahrenheit. In Wausau, the high Wednesday was three below. But despite these frigid temperatures, postal carriers work to make sure mail gets delivered no matter the weather.

"If you look back a few months, it was 75 degrees and sunny and I was in shorts, skipping down street. And you know everybody is 'I want your job,' and then like on a day like today nobody has ever come out to me and said 'I want your job.' So you gotta keep it in perspective, you gotta take the good with the bad," said Jason Odegard, a city carrier with the city of Wausau.

Odegard has been delivering mail for 17 years. Every day, he makes 760 stops. Even when the weather feels like 30 below, he works to make sure mail gets delivered.

"It's just a day-to-day survival. I can just stay positive. There's no mosquitoes, the sun is shining, you know we're one day closer to spring. So I think most carriers just try to stay focused and positive," he said.

In all the years spent delivering mail, the weather has only stopped him in his route once.

"It is such a rare occasion. I mean in one time since I've delivered mail I've had to bring it back, just because I couldn't get up the hills. That was the trend for the office that day, there was a lot of mail--I think we got 14 inches of snow that day, so there was just no way those vehicles were pushing up through the snow," said Odegard.

Experience has taught him what to wear in negative temperatures.

"Hand warmers are essential. The footwear as far as proper boots, you know we're walking most of the time so my feet don't really get cold much. But the hands and the extremities, the face especially, usually I'll walk with a head mask on," he said.

Walking to make sure his community can count on getting their mail.

"These guys count on us. It's not really about us anymore, it's about them. So I think that's what drives us to just perform our jobs. It's such a mutual respect that we have with our customers, that takes it beyond that. It just feels good, absolutely," said Odegard.

The U.S. Postal Service has a creed talking about postal worker dedication. It reads, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."