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NY Mills gets its first female postmaster

Connie Vandermay/FOCUS Carol Schmitz is the new postmaster at the New York Mills Post Office. She began her duties Nov. 19.

On Nov. 19, Carol Schmitz spent her first morning at the New York Mills Post Office, as the town's first female postmaster.

Sorting the day's mail for the carriers, she had to use a sort of 'cheat sheet' at first - a map of the local mail routes.

Two weeks in, she still uses her cheat sheet on occasion. Though memorizing mail routes is one of the first things on her 'to-do' list, Schmitz hopes NY Mills will be the last new area she ever has to memorize.

"This will be the last stop. I'm not going anywhere from here," she said in an interview last week.

Schmitz has worked for the U.S. Postal Office for 26 years, in many communities including Battle Lake, Perham, Ottertail, Henning, Richville and, most recently, Lake Park.

In these years, Schmitz has worked as a postal clerk and also walked a 15-mile city carrier route. In 2007, she began as postmaster in Richville, and later transferred to Lake Park.

"I really love my job. I always have. It's a challenge, every day is different," Schmitz said.

Transferring to NY Mills had many benefits for Schmitz. For one thing, the town, "has a lot of industry and retail businesses to work with," which means more mail, she said.

She said she also gets to work alongside a great team: "I have the best help here, which makes my job easier."

Schmitz is also very excited about her shorter commute to and from work. Since she lives in Perham with her husband, Dan, the NY Mills position cut off an estimated 40 miles of driving a day. This will allow her to be more active in community events.

"I feel like you need to be part of the community you represent, and with the Lake Park drive that was harder," Schmitz said.

At the start of her position, Schmitz's biggest concern was, "having to fill the shoes of someone who has been postmaster for 42 years."

Duane Koehler retired from the position last summer.

"I'm really happy to be in NY Mills. I am familiar with a lot of faces," Schmitz said. "I'm excited to learn everyone here, become involved and hope I can do a fantastic job for the city."