Snail mail making slow return to Vanduser, MO

VANDUSER, MO (KFVS) - We all can relate to how long it takes to send something by 'snail mail', but can you imagine needing to drive over an hour just to check if that envelope or package has arrived?

People in Vanduser, Missouri have been dealing with that reality for months since their post office in town closed last summer due to safety concerns after flooding.

Diane Verble has lived in Vanduser since 1966, and says picking up her mail used to be an easy five minute errand but has now turned into a time consuming task of driving to Sikeston post office and back.

"I don't even care if I go get my mail anymore," Verble said. "I want my mail and I know I need to take care of my bills, but I haven't been feeling as well as I use to and that means getting up and driving into town. It's not like in the old location. The door was open. You walked in, got your mail, walked out."

Vanduser businessman Clay Graviett says his family bought the post office back in 1996 and doesn't believe the United States Postal Services realizes the demand for the service to be nearby.

"The community is hurt because of this," Graviett said. "We have elderly people here in Vanduser. They get their medicine through the mail. They don't have vehicles to get their mail. We have other people picking up mail for other people here in town."

USPS condemned the old post office building last year because it had mold inside the walls and cracks in the floor from flooding. Afterward Graviett decided it would be a better investment to knock down the flat roofed structure and build a brand new building.

"It was built back in the 1940's," he said. "The building has run its course it was time for an upgrade."

The reopening process has been delayed several times including when USPS hired an inspector to examine the new post office. Graviett says he finished making the changes the inspector asked in early March, but was told by USPS that they're waiting for a new counter top they ordered to arrive.

"It really should be opened up because we're sitting here and they are not even putting their safe in there or their desk in there," Graviett said. "If the government owes you something, they don't care when they get it to you. It's disheartening to see my friends blame me for this situation when I've done everything I can do. I call everyday, they don't return my calls."

Verble says the community members started to get their hopes up when the new building was made, but as the months have dragged on their patience of has been wearing thin.

"We were looking forward to it, and that it got to where we were getting madder, and madder," Verble said. "Truthfully if they had done anything to make it any faster we'd feel better, but right now here we are in April and we don't know if we want to trust them anymore."

The large blue mailbox in front of the post office at 902 Vanduser Street is currently taking outgoing mail, but any incoming mail still needs to be picked up at the Sikeston post office at 120 E. North St.

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