Perham parts with its postmaster
When Tammy Vail-Rimer started her career as a mail carrier in Fridley, Minn. she had no idea it would end as the postmaster in Perham. Now after 25 years, Vail-Rimer is stepping down as postmaster at the end of May. Vail-Rimer's father encouraged...
When Tammy Vail-Rimer started her career as a mail carrier in Fridley, Minn. she had no idea it would end as the postmaster in Perham.
Now after 25 years, Vail-Rimer is stepping down as postmaster at the end of May. Vail-Rimer's father encouraged her to take the civil service exam with him after he was laid off.
"I was bartending at the time, and he didn't think that was a good profession for me to be in," she says, laughing.
After starting as a city carrier on a 'billy goat route' that took her up and down hills, Vail-Rimer was asked by her supervisor if she would be interested in getting into management. After initially hesitating because she loved carrying so much, Vail-Rimer accepted the challenge and rose up the ladder. Over the years, she's served as a branch manager in Columbia Heights, was on a route inspection team and even served on an Amazon parcel team that flew to Seattle to see how the whole system worked before the online retailer first came to Minneapolis.
"It's been a great job. The lord was looking out for me, I guess," she said. "This kept me out of trouble."
Vail-Rimer made the leap from urban to rural life after her husband was offered a management position at the Fargo Post Office, and they transitioned to their lake home in Dent.
After years of management, Vail-Rimer still absolutely misses being a mail carrier.
"I loved to be out in the elements, you're your own boss out there," she said. "You get to meet lots of people, some of those customers kind of become your family."
Vail-Rimer said she takes pride in working for such a trusted entity.
"These people really rely on us," she said. "It's a good feeling that you're doing something for the good."
Vail-Rimer said it's going to be hard to adjust to retirement, but is looking forward to golfing and fishing again.
"I don't recall a summer I've ever had off, even before I came to the post office," she said. "I'm so used to getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning to get ready for work. I don't know what sleeping in is."
Don't expect Vail-Rimer's retirement to last too long, though. She's already planning on finding a part-time job in the fall.
"I'm not one of those people that can not work," she said.
In her resignation letter, Vail-Rimer says she's enjoyed her time here and has loved getting to know the people, businesses, and the community.
"Small town living was quite a feat for me after living in the big city all my life, but I have adjusted now that I know the area pretty well, and I kind of like this small town living! It is a bittersweet moment for me as I retire, but am SO looking forward to entering a new chapter in my life," the letter concludes.