The Evans post office received a special delivery nearly three months ago: a new postmaster.
John Gurzi left the hot and dusty south California desert to take the helm of the Evans post office Aug. 20.
"My wife and I wanted a change of pace, wanted to try something different," Gurzi said. "It's a lot greener than where we are from. It was the high desert, where it was brown and dirty and windy."
Gurzi left as the postmaster of the post office in Hesperia, near San Bernardino and Los Angeles, where his office served the city of Hesperia and the communities of Summit Valley and Oak Hills, totaling about 85,000 people.
Moving to rapidly growing Columbia County, then, was not a shock.
"I was used to dealing with the growth coming from a growing community," Gurzi said, His old office delivered to 26,000 addresses and 25,000 post office boxes, compared with the 11,600 delivery addresses and 12,000 post office boxes at the Evans post office.
Evans' postal code, 30809, includes 22 delivery routes, two added in August to deal with growth, with an average of 600 delivery addresses per route.
Susan Curry, the customer service supervisor, was the temporary officer in charge at Evans for about two weeks before Gurzi arrived on the job.
Curry is helping Gurzi learn the area.
"He's learning. He's stepped in and been learning what route goes with what street," Curry said. "He's real good and real nice. We've enjoyed having him here."
Gurzi started his career in the U.S. Postal Service in 1977 as a clerk in Orange County, Calif. He became the postmaster in Hesperia in 1995.
Gurzi said that as postmaster, he handles all the administrative tasks in addition to jumping in to sort the morning mail or help at the customer service counter.
Workdays for Gurzi start at 5 a.m. with the first truck of mail to be sorted. About 85 percent of letter mail is sorted by a large machine.
"It's a different kind of busy here," Gurzi said. "I'm out on the floor working here. It was more administrative work where I came from.
"It's a little less administrative here working more on the floor with the employees. I enjoy that better."
Gurzi has brought in a few changes to make customer service more convenient since taking over as the Evans postmaster. The office, which opens at 8:30 a.m., now closes at 6:30 p.m. instead of 5.
The post office is open for Saturday customers until 3 p.m.; it used to close at 1 p.m. Hours to have passport photos made also were extended, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
"That's why we did it, for the community," Gurzi said. "It'll be really convenient for the upcoming holidays, to have the extended hours."
Another new program allows businesses to order postage by fax and have it delivered, Gurzi said.
Gurzi bought a house in Evans to identify with the residents he serves. He said he has adapted to Georgia smoothly.
"I am enjoying it so far," he said. "I was born and raised in Southern California. I'm on a new adventure."
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