The Mail Lady in Charge
With her appointment as Leland postmaster in July 2020, Nancy Applewhite has reached her career goals and loves her job.
Nancy Applewhite remembers when the Leland Post Office had eight carrier routes because she was one of the carriers. That number has grown to 28 routes, and Applewhite knows the exact number because she was named postmaster of the Leland Post Office in July 2020. Achieving that goal was her aim when she accepted the mail carrier job with the United States Postal Service 22 years ago.
“I felt like I could make a difference,” she says. “I like being able to do the best job possible for Leland.”
The rise to the top required a willingness to be flexible and accept other positions at various post offices. After six years as a carrier, Applewhite became acting supervisor in Leland. She went on to be officer in charge, which means she was named temporary postmaster. She held that same position in Burgaw and Supply and at a number of other North Carolina post offices, but she considers being postmaster at Leland the pinnacle of her career. She credits the late Luther Black, former Leland postmaster, with mentoring her for the job.
“He had knowledge of the way the post office operates,” she says, adding that he knew the proper way to run things.
“I love my job,” she says. “I’m happy I chose this career.”
Applewhite never faltered from her dream of being postmaster, not even when she married Neal Applewhite 26 years ago. The couple have two children, both in their twenties. Their daughter is a student at East Carolina University, and their son is in the logging industry.
There are downsides to every job, and Applewhite says the most common complaint customers voice is that they don’t get their packages fast enough.
“We want to make sure we give the best possible service,” she says, but package delivery doesn’t necessarily depend on Leland’s staff. It depends on when the package gets to the post office. At the same time, the post office has protocols that must be followed about certain types of packages.
Applewhite was born in Raleigh, the third of six children. The family moved to the coast when she was about six years old. Since she likes music and singing, she says while growing up she dreamed of being a singer. As she got older, she realized it wasn’t a realistic goal. Although she doesn’t sing in any group, she likes to listen to 102.7 WGNI radio and will sing along with what’s playing. While in high school she excelled in volleyball and softball, being captain of those teams.
“I always thought I was a good leader,” she says.
Today she is a member of the Leland Lady Runners. She has entered the Wilma Dash marathon several times, but with her increased job responsibilities, she has limited her running time to once a week.
“I’ve always wanted to run and run with others,” she says.
Cooking, though, is part of her daily routine, and she prepares favorite quick and easy dishes such as chicken Parmesan and pork chops for her family. “The oven is my friend,” she says and laughs. She admits to not being a baker except for special occasions when she might make a pecan pie or sweet potato pie.
“I love to work,” she says. “I love my job, and I try to make sure things are getting accomplished. Our goal here is to give the best service possible to our customers. We love all of our customers.”
Applewhite says she works behind the scenes, and she likes it that way.
“I want things to run smooth and go well,” she says. “I try to recognize other people and their efforts.”
As she looks forward to 2021, Applewhite says she would like everything to get back to normal, and “not to worry about COVID, but to focus on other things. I want it to be a better year for everyone.”
Leland Post Office
1123 Village Road NE