By Heleigh Bostwick
Although you might not know his name, Postmaster Ed Mongeon has been a familiar face at the Williston Post Office since 1973.
Mongeon, who was named postmaster in 1977, is retiring on March 30 after 40 years of service.
“It’s the only job I’ve had,” he said, recalling how he first started working for the post office as a part-time clerk.
“I saw a signed piece of paper that said they were looking for someone to work two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. I applied and that’s how I got started.”
Back then the post office was located in a small white building on the town green that has since been moved to North Williston Road. There were two clerks and a postmaster, and two delivery routes.
“The postmaster was a man by the name of Von Shoppe and the other clerk’s name was Evelyn Parker,” he said. “They were both elderly, in their sixties, and it was like working with my grandparents. Even though the hours weren’t great, it was a really great experience.”
Mongeon continued, “Evelyn knew everyone in town and everyone knew her. Mail would be delivered even if the address only had a first name on it.”
In addition to the changes in the physical location of the post office, which was first relocated to Commerce Street before moving to its present location in 1990, there have been some other big changes over the years, including the population growth of Williston, which necessitates more employees at the post office, an increase in the number of parcels being handled due to online shopping and automation using computers.
“The biggest change here in the post office is that all of the mail is now sorted by machines at the Essex Junction facility and then trucked back to Williston,” said Mongeon. “When carriers come in, the mail is already presorted by route and in delivery sequence.”
The use of computers in the mailroom “behind the scenes” has also been a major change, especially for the post office’s customers.
“Computers have really empowered the customers,” he said. “Now you can go online and find out where your package is, where it’s been and whether it’s been delayed. Fifteen or 20 years ago you couldn’t do that.”
Walter Guenther has been a mail carrier at the Williston post office for the past 13 years. “With the many changes over the years, Ed’s always handled them really well,” he said “He’s treated us very well.”
Supervisor Ken Chevrette, who’s worked for the postal service for 34 years—the last two in Williston—agreed. “He has a great crew here and resolves issues as they happen,” he said. “It’s been great to work for him.”
The Williston Post Office is one of the top ten revenue-producing post offices in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, and while there’s no doubt that its location in the Williston shopping mecca helps, Mongeon also gives his employees full credit.
“My employees—the people at the counter and delivering the mail—that’s really the Williston Post Office,” he said. “Those are the people saying good morning or good afternoon, smiling and being helpful.”
After all, as the name Postal Service implies, the emphasis is on service, said Mongeon.
“Many people walk into the post office and aren’t sure how to mail something,” he said. “Our job is to help them and meet their needs. I just hope we’ve given them as good a service as they’ve expected.”
Mongeon doesn’t know who the next postmaster will be, but said they are in the process of choosing someone.
“Randi Fontaine will take over as the OIC (Officer in Charge) until a new postmaster is chosen,” he said.
Fontaine, whose husband, Tom, owns the Fontaine Farm in North Williston, is currently the postmaster in Jericho. Chevrette will also help out in the interim.
“Williston has been a great town to work in, but I’m excited to retire,” said Mongeon, adding that the people are very nice, friendly and supportive. “It’s time for someone younger.”
He plans to keep busy by babysitting his two young grandchildren, one of whom was just born a few weeks ago.
“I’m already penciled in for the month of July,” he said, laughing.