LIHUE — Junlin Rivera is dedicated to her post.
After the Hanamaulu Post Office burned down in December 2012, Rivera spent the entire night salvaging what she could from the charred remains.
The incident took place a year before Rivera was named Postmaster for the Pahala post office, described by USPS Manager of Post Office Operations Felix Bagoyo as “a one-man operation” on the Big Island.
But Rivera, who was born in Waimea and grew up in Eleele and graduated from Waimea High School, never made it to the Big Island.
She was needed here at home.
“We needed her here in Lihue,” Bagoyo said after delivering an oath of office Thursday at the Lihue Post Office, a ceremony that marked Rivera being named postmaster of the Lihue Post Office.
Starting as a part-time employee as a distribution clerk in 2007, Rivera rose through the ranks, being named the acting postmaster at the Lihue Post Office before attaining her new postmaster position.
“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to my mother, Linda Rivera,” Rivera said. “This opportunity would have have been possible without her constant support through the years. She spent countless hours caring for my children so I could put in the hours necessary to develop the skills and experience to assume this position.”
As Lihue Postmaster, Junlin will supervise 28 postal employees at the Lihue Post Office and the Lihue Carrier Annex, and oversee the daily distribution of mail to more than 5,700 addresses on nine delivery routes, as well as more than 2,600 post office boxes in Lihue, Hanamaulu and Puhi.
“She has a big responsibility,” Bagoyo said. “First and foremost, she needs to take care of the post office’s employees, the USPS’s greatest assets. Then, she needs to care for the office as well as take care of the community.”
Rivera, in her new position, replaces former Lihue Postmaster Gavin Sakagawa, who moved on to the postmaster positions on the Big Island.
“I hope to continue to provide outstanding customer service to the community, and to contribute to the overall success of the postal service,” Rivera said. “I am very much aware of the importance of the postal service to Lihue residents and the business community.”