New Dunsmuir Postmaster follows in mother's footsteps

Steve Gerace
New Dunsmuir Postmaster Jessika Osborne is sworn in by Mount Shasta Postmaster Matt Valdivia during a ceremony in front of the Dunsmuir Post Office Friday afternoon, June 8, 2018. More than 30 people watched, including Osborne's mother, Brenda Pope, a former Postmaster in Weed, Mount Shasta and Yreka.

Jessika Osborne said she decided at about age 20 that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a Postmaster.

Thirteen years later she was sworn in during a brief ceremony Friday afternoon, June 8, 2018, as Dunsmuir's new Postmaster.

Osborne’s mother, Brenda Pope, was among a group of more than 30 people standing outside the Dunsmuir Post Office as Mount Shasta Postmaster Matthew Valdivia introduced Osborne and administered the official oath of office.

The audience included Osborne’s daughters, Emmaline, age 9, and Madilynn, 7, and numerous US Postal Service employees.

Valdivia described Osborne as someone who “gets the job done... The Dunsmuir Post Office and community are lucky to have someone like this.”

Osborne thanked her mother, daughters, and others, including the “great team” of Postmasters in the area from whom she learned while working for the Postal Service in southern Siskiyou County since 2005.

“They all have their area of expertise. I just followed their lead,” Osborne said of her fellow Postmasters after the ceremony.

A Yreka High School graduate, Osborne began as a rural carrier associate, and was promoted in January 2009 to regular rural route carrier. She added the title of On the Job Instructor and Driver’s Safety Instructor in 2011. In October 2017 she began a detail as Supervisor in the Yreka Post Office.

She went through Postmaster training after being selected for the Dunsmuir position in January 2018.

As Dunsmuir and Castella Postmaster, Osborne manages six employees and oversees more than 1,400 daily mail deliveries with more than 2,700 pieces of daily mail volume. Dunsmuir also services more than 500 daily Post Office box deliveries.

In her answer to a Postmaster Installation Form question of what it means to her to be Postmaster and what she wants to accomplish, Osborne states, “I take pride in my career with the United States Postal Service and becoming a Postmaster has always been a long term goal. I am proud and honored to hold this title and I will do my best to make sure the Postal Service upholds its service standards. I want to maintain a positive image of dedication and service in my community.”

She lists her hobbies as hiking, swimming, painting, drawing, sculpting, camping, beach combing, and furniture restoration, and her community activities as children’s sports and activities.

Her mother, Brenda Pope, previously served as Postmaster in Greenview, Weed, Mount Shasta and Yreka. She is now a manager of marketing in Sacramento.

Speaking after the installation, Brenda Pope thanked everybody who helped her daughter “to achieve her dreams and my dream.”

Osborne’s stepfather, Jason Pope, was Dunsmuir’s Postmaster for six months in 2012 and was Postmaster in Montague and Gazelle.

Prior to Friday’s installation, Valdivia gave a brief history of Dunsmuir and the Dunsmuir Post Office, including its first Postmaster, Levi Van Fossen, who was a pioneer and businessman who arrived in Dunsmuir soon after the town was founded in 1886 and served as Postmaster from 1889 to 1893.

A Post Office established in 1892 at Shasta Springs, four miles north of Dunsmuir and 2 1/2 miles south of Mott, was discontinued in 1935 and moved to Dunsmuir.

Valdivia said Joseph Rennock was installed as Yreka’s new Postmaster Friday morning. He served as Officer-In-Charge at the Dunsmuir Post Office for several months in 2017 and moved up through the ranks from carrier to supervisor to Postmaster in just five years – one of the fastest ascents Valdivia knows of.

The US Postal Service noted in a news release prior to Friday’s installation that new Postmasters “follow a proud tradition dating back to when Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster General of the United States.”