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‘Don’t call me a hero’

Hoboken postal worker won't let COVID-19 stop her

Jeannie Shao has worked for the Hoboken Post Office for more than 20 years.

Jeannie Shao’s day starts at 6 a.m. when she reports to work at the main postal office at 82 River St. in Hoboken to begin sorting and distributing mail to various mail carriers.

“People are relying on us, on me, to get their packages even more now because of of the crisis,” said Shao who has worked for the United States Postal Service for more than 20 years.

“Yes I was scared,” said Shao. “But I am an essential worker. I take that and my job seriously.”

Shao hasn’t taken a sick day in more than a year and isn’t going to start now, despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has left residents self-isolating at home since March.

“Our customers, Hoboken residents, need these packages and their mail,” said Shao, adding that for many, especially the elderly, those with preexisting conditions, and the socially distant housebound, receiving a package can be a lifeline.

“Now People are ordering their medications online, getting their paychecks in the mail, ordering their groceries, or are sending groceries to their grandparents who can’t go out and do the shopping,” she said. “Getting their mail to them, on time, is more important than ever.”

Busier than ever

Since the pandemic struck the mile square city and surrounding area, she said the post office has never been busier, even more so than during the holidays, including Christmas.

“At least during Christmas people can still go out and shop in stores,” Shao said.

With the gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and the bulletproof glass she stands behind at the service window in the main postal office, Shao said she felt scared and uncomfortable at first. But since reporting for duty, she feels comfortable and takes on extra shifts because she knows not everyone is as lucky to be well and have a job at this time.

She said her elderly parents and her children tried to persuade her not to go to work.

“They kept telling me everyone else is working from home, and that I shouldn’t go in,” Shao said. “But I am lucky. God gave me the ability to work, I am not sick, I am an essential worker, and I have a job to do. I know for a lot of people it’s even harder to stay home. At least I still get to come to work.”

She said helping Hoboken residents was all the motivation she needed.

Hoboken Post Master Emad Attaalla called Shao an “everyday hero,” noting that he knows he can rely on her and that she is the first person they contact if someone calls out for his or her shift, adding that she never caves under pressure.

“I’m just an essential worker trying to help,” Shao said. “Don’t call me a hero.“

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor global COVID-19 pandemic will keep this postal worker from helping Hoboken residents.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

 

 

 

 

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