When Kurt Kemble’s granddad told him as a child that he should aspire to be a postal employee, he didn’t think much about it. Following in granddad’s footsteps was the furthest thing from his mind. But fast forward a few decades and here he is the Acting Postmaster of the Knox Post Office.
Granddad’s piece of advice came from a man who knew what he was talking about. You see, his granddad was Charlie Hasnerl, who had been Postmaster of the Knox Post Office for a quarter of a century.
Back in his granddad’s day, the Postmaster was named by the political party in power. As the Republican County Chairman, Charlie Hasnerl had a springboard into the position. Kurt remembered the story.
“He was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and remained Postmaster for twenty five years,” Kurt said.
During Charlie Hasnerl’s day as Postmaster, things were different. There weren’t such things as email, texting and tweeting. A newsy letter is what you sent to a relative or sweetheart. Those days are gone, and as Kurt says, “so are the glory days of mail service.” We asked him how much the postal service has suffered.
“Forty or fifty percent of our first class mail, that’s letters and everything else that used to go to the post office, now has been eliminated because of email,” Kurt said.
We asked Kurt if he thought the postal service could add more services to stay afloat.
“I don’t know if they’ll add any more services, other than I think we’ll be more parcel oriented. But unlike Fed-ex or UPS, we deliver to every address in the United States.”
Kemble said the postal service is even taking advantage of online opportunities.
You can do a lot on line with the postal service now. You can order stamps, you can send parcels, print your delivery confirmation and all that on line and have us pick it up. You don’t even need to come into the post office anymore.”
When asked how it felt to follow in granddad’s footsteps, Kurt said he was proud and honored to emulate his granddad any way he could. “My granddad in his lifetime was a huge poultry farmer, Postmaster, semi-pro baseball player, Republican party stalwart and other things too. I’m very proud to be compared any way to my granddad.”
One thing that is different than when Charlie Hasnerl was Postmaster is that the post office here now carries a name. It’s now the Grant Green Knox Post Office.