Risingsun postmaster handled much more than mail PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 08 February 2014 11:13
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Terri Allen recently retired as Risingsun postmaster. Visit www.sent-trib.com to watch a video. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
RISINGSUN — For most of the last 50 years, the Risingsun Post Office has been in the capable hands of one mother-daughter duo. That run ended Jan. 31 when Terri Allen retired as postmaster. She served the southeast Wood County village for 24 years, and thus ended her 35-year career with the postal service.
As significant as that is, her history goes back further since she grew up in that facility as her mother, Treva Betts, served as Risingsun’s postmaster for 25 years, retiring in 1990.
“It is an honor to retire from here,” Allen said. “The people are great, they come in every day and we talk every day. Some of them have known me all my life.” CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
More than just their postmaster, Allen is a friend, a confidant and as one customer said, “Risingsun is not losing just a postmaster, they are losing a counselor.”
Another called her the “town therapist.”
Unlike big city post offices, Risingsun offers no delivery in town — people come to the office to get their mail. Over the years, Allen has seen and heard a lot of things while selling the stamps.
“It’s been a great relationship with these people. It’s very hard to say goodbye, I’ve been crying a lot,” Allen admitted.
The stories she has heard and experienced over the years could fill a book — or three.
“I have to say that the greatest moment in my career was when someone called me at home one Sunday morning and asked if I was going to church that day,” Allen recalls. “(The caller) gave birth to a daughter at home and needed to weigh her. I met her at the post office before I went to church and had the pleasure of weighing a brand new baby girl that morning on my postal scale.”
Allen’s church is near the post office so it worked well for her. She notes that girl is now in middle school and Allen considers the weigh-in “an honor.” CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
On another occasion, she remembers when a distraught mother brought in her toddler who had somehow managed to get his head stuck in a port-a-potty training seat. While she couldn’t perform any magic, she did recruit a village employee who was able to get the boy’s head out of the gadget intended for the other end of his body.
Allen said growing up she never planned on following in her mother’s career path. As Allen grew older, she learned of an opening in the Bradner post office. She applied and worked there for seven years before accepting the role of postmaster in Dunbridge. After her mother retired, she applied and was awarded the Risingsun office following her four-year stint in Dunbridge.
Both Allen and her mother are proud of the fact that Betts was a political appointee when she was named postmaster for Risingsun. The appointment was made by President Lyndon Johnson. By the time Allen took over, it was no longer a political appointment.
However, according to Betts, “nepotism was frowned upon” at that time.
Because Allen and Betts had different last names Betts said, “We thought we were fooling the powers that be.”
She later learned the decision had been made with full knowledge of their relationship.
“Terri had earned the appointment through her work in Dunbridge,” Betts said.
Betts and Allen aren’t the only postal employees in the family, Allen’s husband Rick is a rural carrier in Pemberville; her cousin is the postmaster in Vickery, Ohio; while a brother-in-law served as a city carrier in Bradenton, Fla.
Both of the women who have served Risingsun for the last half a century had nothing but praise for the community. Betts called the village a great place to raise a family.
“Everybody knows everybody, so my children could never get away with anything,” Betts said.
Betts whose maiden name was Phillips says she is a descendant of the founder of the village in 1840, David Phillips who was her great-great-great-grandfather.
She noted a special Facebook page dedicated to the village, its history and people, called “Memories of Growing Up in Risingsun Ohio.” The page was started by David Betts, Allen’s brother.
“I am proud of her,” Betts said of her daughter. “The town has served her well.”
Based on Facebook comments, it is also apparent both women served Risingsun well.
Citing changes in the post office operations, Allen said, “I feel like it’s time for me to retire. I’m looking to relax and not be stressed.”
She has no specific plans except for spending more time with her five grandchildren, her husband and other family, as well as devoting more time to her church, First Church of God in Risingsun.
“I know God has plans for me and I’m open and looking forward to whatever that brings.”
Her church hosted a farewell party for her last Sunday.
As for the post office, Gypsy Lee is now serving as the officer in charge. The position of postmaster will be posted later. Allen says she expects the government to reduce the open hours to six per day.
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Memories of Growing Up in Risingsun Ohio on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/355768372836/
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 February 2014 11:19
 

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