New postmaster settles into Homer
Carolyn Sapp, Homer's new postmaster, is picking up where the community's former postmaster, Robert Fimon, left off.
With a 10-year postal career that began in the community where she was born and reared -- Tallahassee, Fla. -- Sapp originally had her eyes on Alaska's beautiful landscapes -- Fairbanks' landscapes, to be specific. When an opening became available, she pursued it.
Sight-unseen, her husband, Albert Seabrooks, offered Sapp encouragement.
"He said, 'If you want to move, I'll go with you,'" she said.
The possibility of moving from Florida to Alaska's interior was all the more enticing because Seabrooks' daughter was in Fairbanks, where her husband was stationed in the U.S. Army.
"It was so pretty," said Sapp of Fairbanks in the summertime.
However, after being flown to Fairbanks and falling in love with the area, Sapp didn't get the job.
"Then Juneau called me. They said, 'Can you come work in Juneau?' And I said, 'Yes, I can,'" she said.
It proved to be a good move. Sapp's face lights up when she talks about hiking in Southeast Alaska. Her eyes widen when she describes wildlife encounters, namely bears in the downtown area where Sapp took lunchtime walks.
Then Homer snagged Sapp's atten-tion.
"I got here in August and was helping out until Robert (Fimon) retired and the job came open in November, I applied for it and was accepted," she said of her new post.
Prior to working for the postal service, Sapp spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as an administrative chief. Among her assigned locations were Washington, D.C.; Quantico, Va.; and Okinawa, Japan. After retiring from the Marines, Sapp returned to her hometown and began working for the postal service.
The new postmaster has discovered several differences between Tallahassee and Homer. For starters, Homer is much smaller.
"There are 10 (employees) here, 11 including me," said Sapp. "That's a little smaller than Juneau and a lot smaller than Tallahassee. I think one of the units I was in there had 27 city routes by itself."
While there was plenty of wildlife to be seen around her hometown -- bobcats, black panthers, black bears, porcupine, opossums and lots of raccoons to name a few -- there weren't moose.
"I'm still fascinated by moose," said Sapp, who keeps a camera nearby. "I just took a picture of one in a yard of the neighbors where I'm staying. It was just sitting on the ground, chewing and I was, like, wow, a moose. Click, click, click."
She also notes Homer residents lack "the big-city attitude. They aren't standoffish. They're very warm. I'd say on the whole they're very friendly."
While in Juneau, Sapp was involved with the Alaska CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a program that recruits, trains and supervises community volunteers advocating for abused and neglected children in the dependency court system.
"I loved working with kids in my spare time and whenever I could," she said. Although familiarizing herself with her new responsibilities and community hasn't permitted time to become re-involved in that program here, she is looking forward to exploring opportunities with Kenai Peninsula CASA.
Part of Sapp's love for youngsters is evident on her desk, where there is a collection of Star Wars items, including a mailbox, guaranteed to capture the attention of youngsters on fieldtrips to the post office.
Since arriving, Sapp has settled into temporary housing, but is looking to find something more permanent once Seabrooks, who drives contract trucks for the post office, arrives next month. The couple's children -- she has a son and a daughter, he has a son and four daughters -- are grown and no other family members are in Alaska. That leaves Sapp and Seabrooks free to explore their personal interests.
"He likes fishing and wants to go hunting with a rifle. I'd rather go hunting with a camera," she said, laughing. "And we want to get up to Fairbanks as soon as he gets here. That's one of the first things we're going to do."
Sapp's continued interest in Fairbanks doesn't mean she's planning to leave Homer anytime soon, however.
"I have to be here at least two years," she said. "And so far, I'm loving it. ... Everyone has been very nice."
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.
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