Garrison youth augment postal operations

A post office worker sorts mail
Summer hires Gabriella Figueroa, Maya Johnson, and Anthony Cala (right to left) breaking down packages to be sorted into the respective mail packages at the Patch Post Office.


Story by Geoffrey Morris
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Summer Hire.

U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart has all hands on deck this PCS season, and that’s why the post is tapping into a special labor pool — families, or more accurately, their kids with the summer hire program. 

Eleven youths from the ages 15-22 were selected for the post’s six-week summer hire program. The teens and twenty-somethings were placed in various garrison agencies from the post office to housing. More than 50 candidates applied for the program, which began June 21. 

“Across the board, they up our A-game,” said garrison postmaster Larry Baricuatro, whose seven summer hires make up the majority of the garrison’s temporary youth employment.

Baricuatro said the new team members were essential to the continued operations of Stuttgart’s four post offices. They work side-by-side with the regular employees, breaking down trucks full of packages, sorting mail, and finally delivering that mail to P.O. boxes, he said. 

Summer hire program director Ray Brown said the program’s purpose is “to get our family members experience in the workforce while helping out the garrison at the same time.” As the program’s head organizer for the past few years, Brown said that he’d seen the benefits that the program provides to the youths, their families, and the community over the years. “They get an upbeat spirit, for family members to help contribute to their family.”

It’s not an easy job, helping with things that might seem minor but are absolutely essential

Along with the post office, the housing office and the Military Personnel Division have also gained new temporary employees. Seventeen-year-old James Montoya is working at the passport office. He’s not only helping the community, and he’s already putting his knowledge to use.

“My parents are actually in [passport] renewal right now, so I’ve been able to direct them through it,” he said. 

Erin Kenealy, a summer hire, who’s been helping the Directorate of Public Works housing office, said the opportunity to work for the garrison is building off work experience she already has in the community. 

“I already had some experience in the workforce from the vet clinic, so it’s great to have an opportunity to diversify.” the 19-year-old said. 

Kenealy has been proud of her work managing arrivals to the housing office and providing guidance to customers. 

“It’s not an easy job, helping with things that might seem minor but are absolutely essential,” her supervisor said.

While the program may end July 30 for Kenealy, Montoya, and the rest of the summer hires, this is just the beginning of their burgeoning careers. 

Montoya remarked on his experience in the program, “It’s taught me more than just accountability but the systems and the processing, something I can use in my future endeavors with the military.”