The U.S. mail, delivered with a smile

Published 7:29 pm Friday, May 5, 2017

When the snow falls hard in Western Branch, at least one postman is ready with shovels and rock salt, undeterred by the elements.

“My goal is to get through the route every day, no matter what the weather is,” he said.

Tony Scardina has been a postal worker in Chesapeake since 1988. His career began in Great Bridge, “when Battlefield Boulevard was only four lanes, and you could walk across it safely with a mailbag.” He moved to the Jolliff Station office nearly 22 years ago.

Email newsletter signup

The 58-year-old letter carrier has earned a reputation in the Western Branch community as a dedicated employee who goes out of his way for his job and for others.

“He is a familiar, friendly and welcomed face that these people look forward to seeing every day,” supervisor Connie Ainsley said. “I know I’m glad to see him every morning.”

Scardina sorts packages, letters and magazines at 8 a.m. each day before starting his seven-hour route in and around Stonebridge Landing. He said his goal is to provide consistency with a personal touch.

“Sometimes they want to see a familiar face, and I ask them how it’s going,” he said of his customers.

For some of the residents and businesses he serves, Scardina has become part of their daily routine.

“He’s got some older residences where he’s the only communication outside the four walls of their homes,” Ainsley said.

Scardina’s coworkers have appreciated his enthusiasm, as well. He greets everyone happily and is always ready with encouragement and guidance, they say. That attitude has proven especially helpful for new employees adapting to their roles.

“It’s overwhelming at first, and if they get in a spot when they’re getting late, you go out there and help them,” he said.

He maintains that eagerness when volunteering in the community on Saturdays.

The National Association of Letter Carriers organizes annual food drives nationwide in May. Residents leave canned foods at their mailboxes for pickup, and the collections are sorted by volunteers on Saturdays.

Ainsley said Scardina volunteers for hours “without thinking twice about it.”

“It’s one drop of water in a big bucket that can do so much for hunger,” Scardina said. “It’s exciting and very fulfilling.”

He said the charity doesn’t stop there, as he and his coworkers always try to help residents during the holidays as well.

“Someone on the route will identify someone in need, and we’ll all chip in and make someone’s holiday a whole lot better,” he said.

It’s the Western Branch community that keeps his station motivated, he explained.

“We’re not a big station, but we’ve got a big heart,” he said. “We get out there and get the public involved.”