Residents rally: ‘Save Matt the Mailman’

Community stands behind local mailman after suspension

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Letter carriers seem to be unsung heroes—they provide an essential service, yet often go unnoticed or underappreciated.

But not Matt.

The Brightwaters community has rallied behind Matt the mailman, who has worked at the Brightwaters post office for nine years, after he was suspended without pay for delivering holiday letters to residents—without postage. The holiday letter included joyous remarks about the holiday season and a reminder to children to write their letters to Santa, so Matt could send them to the North Pole.

According to Judy Sallie, a Brightwaters resident on Matt’s route, a holiday letter from Matt is an annual occurrence.

“He has given holiday letters every year since he has been our mailman, and I think that is great,” Sallie said. “All the people that have young children are pleased with that. He really goes above and beyond.”

According to some residents, the decision to suspend Matt may have been due to a change in management.

“We had a postmaster, Patty, who had been here for 33 years, a wonderful lady,” explained Brightwaters resident Eric Jansen. “She retired, and we have a new postmaster here in Brightwaters, who many residents believe is treating Matt unfairly.”

Matt’s holiday letter distributed to residents also included a remark regarding the post office that could be considered unfavorable.

“I think he took out some of his frustration about the restrictions put on him by the post office,” explained Brightwaters mayor John Valdini.

As soon as residents heard of Matt’s suspension, the community of Brightwaters swiftly rallied around their beloved mail carrier. Dawn Sosa and her boyfriend, David Mckeown, felt inspired to show their support for Matt publicly. Together, they bought 50 lawn signs and 100 bumper stickers displaying “Save Matt the Mailman,” and gifted the merchandise to friends who also wanted to show their support.

The massive amount of support from the community was evident as residents scrambled to get their own signs.

“Then I had a whole bunch of people that I didn’t know from all over the neighborhood asking for a sign,” shared Sosa. “So, our 50 ran out pretty quickly; we just gave them out to whoever wanted them.”

Once the first round of signs ran out, Debbie Lyons and Eric Jansen, from the Brightwaters Beverage Center, gladly reprinted another round of lawn signs to support Matt. This second round of signs were sold at the beverage center for $8, the cost of printing. After selling out, Debbie and Eric purchased more signs, available to purchase at the beverage center beginning Wednesday, Jan. 31. The two are eager to show their support for Matt, who had been the mail carrier for the Brightwaters Beverage Center on and off for nine years.

“He is honest, reliable, thoughtful… he would go out of his way for anybody,” shared Lyons. “If you drive down the street, whether he knows you or not, he waves and says hello.”

Eric Jansen also shares the same gratitude for Matt and all he has done for the Brightwaters community.

“I have seen Matt pick up garbage on the street. He watches over all the houses. When elderly people have not gotten their mail in two or more days, he will contact their relatives or neighbors to make sure everything is okay,” explained Jansen. “It is really a strong sense of community that he ties together.”

In addition to distributing the lawn signs, Lyons and Jansen also collected letters from residents endorsing Matt and his character, explaining what an asset he is to the community and the Brightwaters post office. About 150 letters have been collected at the Brightwaters Beverage Center, which Jansen and Lyons have given to Matt to do with as he sees fit.

Valdini wrote a letter of his own in support of the mail carrier keeping his job.

“The village sent a letter to the union to point out what a great person he is and how well-respected he is,” Valdini shared. “For many years, since the post office was short staffed, he did two routes a day. He was always there when they needed him. So, to be suspended without pay like he is, I do not think that is right.”

When asked for comment, a USPS spokesperson said they do not comment on personnel matters. Both Matt and the Brightwaters post office postmaster were unavailable for comment.

“Save Matt the Mailman” lawn signs are impossible to miss as you drive through the Village of Brightwaters, a testament to how strongly the gratitude the community of Brightwaters holds for Matt and the eagerness to get him reinstated. While the future for Matt is uncertain, it is crystal clear that the tight-knit community of Brightwaters will support their humble, caring mailman, no matter what.