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St. Louis mail carrier continues to deliver smiles during pandemic

Pankey said no matter what it’s the neighbors on his route who bring joy to his heart and a smile to his face each day

ST. LOUIS — It’s been nearly a year since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the St. Louis area. Since then, there have been countless heroes among us, including Jerry Pankey.

Pankey is a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service. He’s been delivering mail in St. Louis for 20 years. He pulled long days when online ordering spiked as Americans decided to get items delivered instead of heading out to the store.

“I just love communicating with people outside,” Pankey said. “That’s how I am. I’m a one on one person. I love to talk to my neighbors and people, so this is a good job for me.”

Pankey said no matter what it’s the neighbors on his route who bring joy to his heart and a smile to his face each day.

“Seeing a smile on their face when I come,” Pankey said. “When they say, ‘Oh, my check,’ 'Oh, my medicine,’ 'Oh, a letter that I write for my daughter.’ That smile is like, I’m glad to assist you in your happiness.”

Pankey said he can’t wait until we overcome this pandemic so he can have more meaningful conversations with those along his route again.

“It’s hectic because you know you can’t really have this close relationship like you used to have a close relationship,” Pankey said. “Just knowing that this is what we have to do until we come over this pandemic, that you know, so we have to meet the guidelines, but you know I’d be grateful when we can all come together.”

Rise Up for Heroes

During the month of March, 5 On Your Side is honoring the countless heroes who've been making a difference since the pandemic began in the St. Louis area a year ago. Each morning on Today in St. Louis we'll pay tribute to those who are going the extra mile during these hard times. Join us as we salute our fellow St. Louisans and rise up for heroes.

Do you know an essential worker you're proud of? Tell us about them. Email 5 On Your Side here.