Tracy Brown Crump – Class of 1980
Postmaster, Valdese, NC

Regardless of location, the postal system is one organization that is depended upon by all Americans. We trust our mail carriers and other postal employees to deliver important items efficiently and carefully. Local postmasters have an important job of coordinating delivery of the mail to the public and provide a valuable service to their communities.

Tracy Brown Crump has worked in a variety of jobs with the postal system for over thirty years and currently serves as the postmaster in Valdese. “My favorite part of the job,” she explains, “is working with the public. I have worked as a clerk and as a supervisor before becoming postmaster. My job now involves a great deal of paperwork and administrative duties, but I still do clerk duties for three hours each day. The interaction with the people is so important. It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I can help someone find a missing package or sort out a problem or find a more efficient way to send an item. There’s nothing quite like that one-on-one experience.

“I also enjoy the teamwork with the other employees. The carriers do a great job, and it is important to treat them well and make things as efficient as possible so they can perform their duties. Being sure that they have water during the hot summer months may seem like a small thing, but it’s a good example of how treating them well helps them do a better job for the people.”

A postmaster is responsible for all aspects of the operation of a US post office including hiring and training staff, keeping up with the latest rules and regulations regarding mailing and procedures, supervising carriers, and maintaining a good relationship with the public. “My brother worked at the post office in Drexel, and I saw how well he did and how much he liked it, so I thought it might be good fit for me as well. I am really glad I made that choice.”

Tracy attributes her success and enjoyment of the job to a good work ethic that was established early. “I have always worked. Even when I was a child, I would help out in my mother’s beauty shop folding towels and keeping things orderly. As I got older, I would do lots of odd jobs like mowing yards. I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t working in some capacity. I think those times helped me establish a good attitude about work and gave me lots of experience dealing with people. Before I joined the postal system, I worked at SAFT for about five years. It was a good job, but dealing with people and performing an important service is much more appealing to me, and I’ve found that here.”

Tracy recalls so many people who were role models for her. “When I was growing up, I always had such respect for my teachers. It was the way things were then. My fifth grade teacher, Martha Howell, was so nice and always willing to help, and she made a great impression on me. Geraldine Rector, my sixth-grade teacher, was also a great inspiration. I often wish I could go back and apply myself a bit more in their classes, but I still remember what great teachers they were. Mildred Leatherman was a teacher who I thought was just awesome! I enjoyed her class so much that I didn’t want to leave. That says a lot. At East Burke, I enjoyed French class with Mr. Roy Sweezy, and a teacher couple that I have always looked up to, Reynolds and Lena Hollifield. I have always thought they were such fine people.

“I was also greatly influenced by the adults I knew growing up in church, and they really modeled great qualities. Josephine Brendle, Gleta Byrd, Edith Garrison, Polly Huffman, and Bea Poteat are examples of strong women I admired. Even though they are all gone now from this earth, the memory of them and others remains with me, and I often think of how much they accomplished,”

Tracy is still active in church, where she has served for many years in several different capacities. She describes her church duties as “too much and not enough.” With a career of service to her community and a life of service to her church, Tracy continues to honor the people who have influenced her as well as make a difference to the people of Valdese.

Published May 2021

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